Skip to main content

Full text of "First years in Europe."

See other formats


Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 

// L/JlCOsI^ Sus<- 







Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by 

George H. Calvert, 

in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Rhode Island. 

Presswork by John Wilson and Son. 


TN 1856 were published, in Putnam's Maga- 
zine, two papers entitled, " Weimar in 1825," 
and "Goettingen in 1824." The acceptance they 
found, together with the studious enjoyment the 
writer had in registering the scenes and doings of 
a sunny long-past time, led him, some years later, 
to continue and complete reminiscences of a first 
residence in Europe. 

With the most resolute will, it is as impossi- 
ble, in a volume with the title and contents of 
this, to suppress an autobiographical tint as it 
were to stifle the odor of ignited tobacco. The 
significance of incidents, the liveliness of scenes, 
the pertinence of reflections, so often depend on 
the individual agent, that to attempt to efface or 
conceal his personality were as abortive as to try 
without thread to hold together a necklace of 
beads, be they of glass or of pearls. The writer 
must be behind every sentence ; and as he is not, 


like the bead-string, dead and passive, but is a 
living active soul, he cannot be kept always out 
of sight. Too strenuous an effort so to keep him 
would take the color out of many a page. The 
author will be glad if the reader shall find this 
apology superfluous. 

The slight record of kindnesses received forty 
years ago invades no sanctities or sensibilities, and 
no apology is offered for giving the names of those 
who rendered them, several of whom are still 

Newport, K. L, August, 1866. 



I. From New York to Antwerp . . 9 
II. Antwerp 23 

III. Antwerp. — The Cathedral . . .36 

IV. Antwerp. — The Museum . . . .49 
V. From Antwerp to Goettingen . . 64 


VII. My First Vacation 127 

VIII. Weimer 165 

IX. From Goettingen to Antwerp . .199 
X. From Antwerp to Edinburgh . . 220 

XL Edinburgh 244 

XII. From Edinburgh to Paris . . .278 


From New York to Antwerp. 

O E JOICING to escape from the roll and vast- 
-" ness of the sea, we were embraced on the 
seventh day by the hills and green fields that help 
to make the harbor of Halifax. It was my first 
voyage, and my first sight of a foreign land. On 
the 16th of August, 1823, the Francis Freeling 
cast anchor in front of the town. Immediately 
a barge came off to convey the British Minister 
and his secretary to the Governor's. The Francis 
Freeling — an armed brig of about three hundred 
tons, one of the British royal packets that plied 
monthly between New York and Falmouth, by 
way of Halifax — having been taken for himself 
and suite by Mr. Stratford Canning, then Minister 
to the United States, about to return home, he 
had kindly proposed to my father, that on my 
way toward Goettingen I should accompany him 
to England. 

In the afternoon came to me from the Governor 


of Nova Scotia, Lieutenant-General Sir James 
Kempt, an invitation to dinner at six for the next 
day, Sunday ; and on Sunday the invitation was re- 
peated for Monday. The Governor's large round 
dinner-table, lighted from the centre of the ceiling, 
with its fifteen or sixteen guests, is the most vivid 
of my Nova Scotian memories. On one day I 
had beside me Judge Haliburton, since temporarily 
famous as " Sam Slick ; " on the other, a Colonel 
who had lost a leg and an arm at Waterloo. As 
to the conversation, in that I was, on both days, 
the most important member of the company. Did 
I regale this circle of royalists — all subjects, and 
most of them highly-trusted servants, of a King — 
with a sonorous laudation of democracy, flanked by 
a dogmatic argumentation, with running expository 
accompaniment, on our federative system : — I had 
lately been studying the " Federalist," and in my 
junior year at Harvard had taken a prize for 
declamation : — or, was I, fresh from the principal 
seat of learning in New England, so virulently in- 
oculated with interrogation, that, not to miss the 
golden opportunity before me, goaded too by the 
appetite for knowledge possessed by every compe- 
tent gentleman just launched on his travels, I plied 
the whole circle, individually and collectively, with 
questions ? Either of these solutions of my impor- 
tance presupposes " Young America " in turges- 
cent, licentious vivaciousness ; whereas in 1823 


that unblushing prematurity was yet in swaddling- 
clothes. But let the reader figure to himself, on a 
clear August afternoon of this present 1862, the 
chief dignitaries of Halifax, civil and military, con- 
verging towards the Governor's drawing-room, 
while, with piston-punctuality, the Europa or the 
Africa glides into the harbor, and a few minutes 
after, the Governor and his assembled guests greet 
Lord Lyons, fresh from Washington, attended by 
his secretary, but unattended by a young Ameri- 
can friend. What the purport and tone would be 
of the liveliest talk at the dinner-table, may be 
securely inferred from the comments, for the past 
year, of British journals, quarterly, monthly, 
weekly, daily, and of British public speakers, par- 
liamentary and ministerial, on American affairs. 
True, 1823 was not loaded with a momentous 
world-watched conflict ; but the spirit in which 
this tremendous war is viewed by the governing 
classes of England is the growth of many decades. 
The breaths of English opinion and feeling, expired 
toward the United States since 1810, are the 
wind from whose sowing is reaped the present 
whirlwind of English rancor and denunciation. 
The harvest is not yet over : there may be 
another, and another kind of whirlwind to be 
reaped hereafter. 1 

1 Written in 1862, these sentences embody the feeling of that 
anxious period. With the triumphant vindication of American 


It will thus be perceived what a potent, though 
negative, sway was wielded over the company by 
its youthful, silent, American member ; and how, 
especially, the derisive tongue of the inchoate 
" Sam Slick," was probably bridled by the im- 
perative proprieties of hospitality. 

On the nineteenth of August the Francis Free- 
ling, Captain Cunningham, weighed anchor. 

Who has not seen the setting sun swallowed day 
after day by the sea ; has not watched the stars 
swaying through the heavens and dancing to and 
fro to the rhythm of the up-heaved billows ; has 
not felt an awe, tempered by delight, as the stout 
ship beneath him poises herself an instant on the 
writhing wind- whipped waves, and then darts for- 
ward with victorious speed, bravely obedient to the 
mastering will at the helm ; has not had the mag- 
nificent monotony of smooth days broken by a 

national unity have subsided the excitement and the uncertainties 
of a fearful civil conflict ; while by the results of the conflict the 
mutual attitude of the United States and England is different from 
what it has at any time been since our existence as a nation. Not 
from England only, but from all Europe, we have won a full recog- 
nition of our republican sufhciency, and between England and the 
United States the tone of feeling on both sides is at this moment 
healthier than ever before. May the great mother and the great 
daughter henceforth stand side by side interlocked in the twofold 
embrace of Commerce and Letters. United, they may predominate 
over Christendom for the good of mankind. War between them 
were one of the worst calamities that could befall human advance- 

June. 1866. 


storm that comes bellowing out of immensities, 
right at his frail bark, and, shut in from the pro- 
tecting stars between the close-driving clouds and 
the uprisen waters, has not been thrilled by a sub- 
lime terror at his helplessness, and then by a sub- 
lime sense of power, as the solitary hunted ship 
leaps through the tempest to turn out her wet can- 
vas to the morrow's sun ; whoso has not traversed 
an ocean, quickened by its majestic lessons, has 
missed an invigorating chapter in the contents of a 
human life. The sea is a continuous sublimity, 
and the spirit of him who can assimilate its won- 
ders and its grandeurs, it braces for the struggles 
of the land. 

On deck you have the expansions of a voyage ; 
below deck its limitations. The present generation 
travel between America and Europe in steam-pal- 
aces of three thousand tons ; and still they find 
themselves " cabined and confined " below. With 
how much narrower a radius must then have been 
drawn our circumscriptions in a brig of three hun- 
dred tons. The cabin had but half its complement 
of passengers, and at the table which would have 
been full with eight, we counted, with the Captain 
and Doctor, five. 

The Captain, a man of about fifty, of middle 
height and thin, with Roman features, a Lieutenant 
in the Royal Navy, and lame from a wound re- 
ceived in the War of 1812, had been carried pris- 


oner into one of our Southern ports, where the 
kindness bestowed upon him, which he cordially 
acknowledged, assuaged somewhat in him the anti- 
American animosity prevalent among his class. 

The Doctor was a medium-sized man under 
thirty, with a dull eye, and one of those turbid 
complexions that soap will not clarify. Luckily 
for me, probably, I gave him no opportunity of 
proving his skill ; but he gave me one for a retort : 
for, pronouncing, one day at dinner, a sweeping 
judgment upon the people of New York, as being 
low and ill-bred, I rejoined, that a foreigner in a 
strange city would be apt to form his opinion of its 
inhabitants by the company he kept. 

Our little brig did her task well ; and late on 
Monday afternoon the eighth of September, with 
just light enough to see her way, she entered the 
harbor of Falmouth. 

That young men, who from the law of youth 
have little power of judgment, should yet be so 
ready with decisions, must proceed from a neces- 
sity of nature, that things that are to be big must 
not only first be little, but must assert themselves 
in their unconscious littleness. Thence, men who 
are to come to a rich ripeness, signalize their en- 
trance into manhood with the uttering of crudities. 
Many joyous blossoms miss the happiness of fruit> 
age ; but fruit there were none without blossoms. 
These intellectual tadpoles will often be found 


wriggling vivaciously in youthful diaries. Nor 
have I on this score any complaint against mine ; 
but now that it is dragged from its long obscu- 
rity, I cannot help wishing that it were likewise 
fuller, not of facts — for many a fact, involving, 
as every one does, a relation between at least two 
things, demands for its accurate report hardly less 
practised maturity than do thoughtful judgments — 
but of transcripts, brief as may be, of words heard 
or things seen, especially in motion ; for these give 
an everlasting liveliness to journals, even to those 
of men in whom the shapeless embryos of the in- 
tellect have long since been wrought into compact- 
• ness and symmetry by time and its exercitations. 

Three hundred miles in an English mail-coach 
is become a privileged reminiscence. Falmouth, 
which is now six or seven hours distant from Lon- 
don, was forty in 1823. " Mules carrying copper 
on pack-saddles ; women neat and often pretty ; 
coachmen sober ; hedges unclipt ; Dorset County 
barren ; Exeter Cathedral, finer than Westminster 
Abbey." This last comment proves that the diary 
was written out after my arrival in London. Un- 
happily there is not a word about fellow-passengers, 
or what they said. At six o'clock on Thursday 
morning, the eleventh, I found myself at the 
Spring Garden CofFee-House, Charing-Cross ; and 
after an early breakfast sallied forth into the 


A youngster, fresh from Yorkshire, has not a 
more absolute title upon London than one from the 
Banks of the Hudson or the Potomac, the national 
alienation giving even a keener edge to the zest 
wherewith the American enters upon his property. 
The Tower is his, and the Thames, and he walks 
into Westminster Abbey with filial reverence. He 
is like a wealthy heir, sent from home a bantling, 
come back at twenty-one to take possession. He 
runs about, refreshing and verifying and rectify- 
ing his vague memories. His rights are so deep 
that they are inalienable ; for they descend to him 
through the books he has read, and the plays he 
has seen, and the history he has learnt, and the 
language he speaks, and the prayers he breathes, 
and the imaginations he has fondled. 

Being yet only a traveller incidentally, London 
was but a station on my road to Goettingen. Of 
the few days I spent so busily my most cordial 
reminiscence is a dinner to which I accompanied 
Mr. Canning at his sister's, where was the Under- 
Secretary of State, Mr. Planta, and where was to 
have been the principal Secretary, Mr. George 
Canning. But he was detained by business ; and 
so I failed to bring away from Europe the visual 
and auricular image of one of England's most 
celebrated latter statesmen. Mr. Stratford Can- 
ning, whose kindness to me I ever have pleasure 
in remembering, has since, for his eminent diplo- 


matic services, been raised to the peerage under 
the title of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. 

On Saturday morning the twentieth of Septem- 
ber, having embarked at the Custom House on the 
steamboat Talbot, I passed down the Thames, and 
reaching Ostend at midnight, set out by diligence 
on Sunday for Ghent. Now for the first time I felt 
myself in a foreign land, the foreignness assailing 
me unceasingly through eye and ear. In the 
diary of my first day on the Continent I find a few 
words, that are not the effusion of an immature 
judgment, but to which even a greater significance 
is imparted by the youthfulness of the observer. 
They are these, — "The inhabitants have a sad 
look." One battered by the world, who knows, 
from having braved, its hardships and its woes, 
would not so readily note and comment on, or at 
least would not be startled by, what to him would 
seem almost a thing of course. But to a young 
man, whose own heart and face have not yet been 
shadowed by the oppressions and glooms of life, 
the sad look of a whole people, when first beheld, 
wears a dim terrible mysteriousness. If he be a 
man of sensibility, he will be affected as by a sud- 
denly confronted, sorrowful phantom. And there 
it is still to-clay that look, transmitted from genera- 
tion to generation, — a dreary look as of helpless 
orphanage, stamped on the countenance by the 
worn and wearied soul; a never-ending eclipse, 


darkening the life of the multitude with the opaque 
bulk of ever-revolving never-absent poverty ; that 
fixed, silent, mournful look, the token of a heart- 
graven despair, as if the animal spirits were ever 
attending the funeral of the hopes and the aspira- 
tions, — there it is, stretching across Northern Eu- 
rope into Asia, giving a ghastly aspect to the peo- 
ples, that pallor of the spirit and the visage, the 
badge of inherited impoverishment and lifelong 

The human countenance elsewhere, whether 
seen singly or in crowds, does not always glisten 
with the radiance whereof it is capable ; and a 
Lavater going up Broadway at about nine o'clock in 
the morning, when the workers in Wall Street are 
streaming down, with their faces full of the com- 
ing day, would surely not be impressed with the 
nobleness of man's physiognomy. Yet there he 
would find in it any thing but deadness or apathy. 
Besides the evidence of a good breakfast that it 
furnishes, it is alive with intellect and feeling and 
hope. The intellect is somewhat arithmetical ; 
the feeling may be sympathy for the contents of a 
neighbor's pocket ; the hopes are belike bearish ; 
but they give life to the face, and open vistas in it, 
however these may end in gilded upholstery and a 
numerous table fragrant with French cookery. 

The face of the European peasantry opens no 
vistas : it is sodden in gloom. Let any one, who 


would verify for himself their condition, loiter in a 
small rural town of Belgium, or among the field- 
laborers in Germany, or peer into the minutiae of 
agricultural or manufacturing statistics, or listen to 
the report of some who have been met fleeing their 
fatherland, to escape the daily disheartening sight 
of widespread want and hopeless misery. 

For me, in those unshadowed years, enough on 
that first continental day w T ere the outsicles of 
things, all new and strange, — the huge diligence, 
with its three compartments and its three horses 
abreast ; the strange tongue ; the little boys on the 
road-side, standing on their heads, as the best 
attitude for begging ; the many cottages ; the 
populousness ; the garden-like tillage ; the straight 
roads ; the fenceless, hedgeless, w T eedless fields. 
The mere stowing away of new images, like pack- 
ing parcels into a carpet-bag, expands the- mind 
that is expansible. Indeed, in this stowing, if done 
at the right time, in the right way, with the right 
parcels, consists all of education, the secret of 
which is, to apportion the material supplied from 
without to the inward power of assimilation, — the 
food to the feeder, so that all be cleanly ab- 
sorbed ; and then the mental limbs dilate and 
ripen, each up to the rim of its capacity. But a 
traveller, still more a young one, needs companion- 
ship, — a friendly, not to say a confidential, com- 
rade. The new parcels are better handled by 


four hands than by two ; more are stowed away 
and in better condition ; for in all human doings 
there is no enlivener like sympathy. Loneliness 
weighs nowhere with a more gloomy gravity than 
on a young man journeying in a strange land. He 
is in an unwalled prison under the open sky. For 
me a friendly station was near at hand. 

At our steady pace of five miles an hour, over 
the straight, paved, trembling, clattering road, 
we reached Ghent at four, and started the next 
morning at four ; my seat, a commanding one, 
being on the outside behind. For partner in eleva- 
tion I had a Swede, a merchant or mercantile 
agent. He was one of those men who live loosely 
on the surface of the world, unsteadied in his place 
by the moral roots which give to life its higher 
worth and dignity. 

We have all heard of the sty of Epicurus ; but 
the philosopher himself did not live in it. He was 
a clean refined gentleman of purest life. Through 
individual organization his pleasure was drawn ex- 
clusively from virtuous practices ; and no doubt 
the surprise on finding himself alive after the death 
of his body, turned into delight on discovering that 
in the life after the earth-life there is wider scope 
for the enjoyment of pure desires. But his 
doctrine of pleasure, which wrought upward in one 
so finely and exceptionally organized as he was, 
works downward and issues in sensualism, when 


wielded by animal natures ; and were it not that so 
many mortals would have been Epicureans, gross 
or delicate, had no Epicurus ever lived, he might 
for these two thousand years in his higher abodes, 
have undergone pangs of conscience at the con- 
tinued and countless multiplication of Epicurean 
litters ; perceiving that even after centuries of 
Christian reign, not only is Christendom thickly 
sprinkled with disbelievers in a life beyond the 
grave, but that some of his (Epicurus's) sleekest 
pigs are to be seen occasionally in Christian pul- 
pits. As to my Swedish neighbor, he was a 
cleanly, civil pig, of about forty, well-grown, with 
a fresh healthy complexion, whose bodily comforts 
and enjoyments were not allowanced by dutiful 

To the contagion of Epicureans, of coarser or 
finer grain, the young man who goes forth into the 
world is exposed, as he is to malaria and ship- 
wreck. Had the diligence upset, the loftiness of 
my seat, which gave me so good a view of Flan- 
ders, might have brought dislocation of limb or 
neck ; but the diligence did not upset, nor did I 
suffer any moral dislocation from contact with the 
Swede, whose figure and talk are more vivid to me 
to-day that I am recording them, than they have 
ever been at any other moment since we descended 
together from our unwieldly vehicle, when it 
halted on the banks of the Schelde. 


Toward eight o'clock the endless vista of the 
straight, broad, tree-flanked road began to be dimly 
closed. Soon the vague outline took more definite 
shape. " What is that ? " — " The Cathedral of 
Antwerp," answered the Swede. The words 
knocked familiarly at my heart. 'T was the sud- 
den apparition of an early friend. My mother had 
often told us children of having gone, when a 
child, with her parents up into the spire of the 
cathedral to witness a far-off battle, in which the 
French were victorious, — a result not welcome to 
the party she was with. That battle was of some 
moment to me ; for, had it issued otherwise than it 
did, I should not have been here to speak of it, as 
in that case my maternal grandfather would not 
have emigrated from Belgium to America, which 
he did with all his family about the year 1794. 

There it was, that great spire, with my mother 
in it, growing taller and livelier as mile after mile 
w r e neared the city ; until we came to the river- 
bank, when it towered up so close and palpable, 
that it seemed within a stone's throw of us, pierc- 
ing and adorning the heavens with its attenuating 
beauty, one of the marvels of Europe and glories 
of architectural art. At nine I got into the 
Hotel cVAngleterre, and at ten went out to find 
my uncle. 



\ /FAN'S business — did he but know it — is, to 
L ■*- learn, ever to learn, never to cease learning ; 
which business the young carry on only more 
briskly, learning unconsciously even more than 
consciously. Passively or semi-passively they 
absorb knowledge, — as growing leaves their sus- 
tenance from air, — silently receiving, in periods 
of seeming inaction, images, and impressions which 
are to be aliment for the opinions and convictions 
of later years. In the transition from an Ameri- 
can college to a German university there inter- 
vened a long suspension of active book-work. 
Before entering on more manly studies I was pas- 
turing untethered in fields rich with novelties, — 
sprightly, indulgent preceptors, demanding no effort 
in their pupil. 

I found myself domesticated in an old chateau, 
six miles from Antwerp, surrounded with a moat, 
filled by the tide of the distant Schelde. There 
was no longer a draw to the bridge, but at the end 
of it a heavy iron- clamped portal let you into an 
open quadrangular court, around which rose the 


walls, enclosing a roomy, commodious mansion, 
with a small chapel in one of the towers. Beyond 
the moat, on all sides were trees, more or less 
thickly planted, with a view in part to landscape 
effects. In one direction, just beyond the trees, 
was a spacious garden ; in another, not half a mile 
distant, a small village, where dwelt the peasants 
to whom the land was leased. Outside the moat, 
on the east, ran a straight country road, thickly 
shaded by trees. 

It is an easy life, to saunter down the slope 
of idleness, plucking flowers that you have not 
planted ; but if you follow it too far the slope 
grows barren and steep, to plunge soon into an 
abyss. Indeed, only at the top, where idleness is 
temporary relaxation, is it enjoyment ; and healthy 
life instinctively rejects it as a foe. My idleness 
was made busy by the multifarious novelty about 
me. There were dinner-parties, small and large, 
where cheerfulness was provided by intimacy, and 
refinement and elegance by long social culture and 
the mingling of the sexes, and where the cuisine 
(as I discovered in later more gustatory years) 
was most appetizing and delicate. And there was 
a ball at another chateau, where I was in the 
midst of numerous kin, of all ages and degrees, 
running into the dilutions of fourth and fifth cous- 

In face of the protest of Nature, emphasized by 


ever-recurring cases of physical and mental debil- 
ity, — exhibited often in idiotism and lunacy, — 
pride of birth, and the calculations of thrift, and 
the fervors of affection, have led to much intermar- 
riage among near kindred, not only in monarchic, 
oligarchic Europe, where tradition and statute 
have maintained a privileged class, but in republi- 
can America, where, there being no such class, 
that which holds a social preeminence is far more 
freely replenished and re-invigorated from the gen- 
eral reservoir than in Europe. 

In a w r ealthy provincial continental city, — 
when it is not a modern accretion of manufacture, 
or commerce, — the upper class, socially speaking, 
is made up of a noblesse, titled or untitled, who in 
Belgium formed so exclusive and isolated a body — 
or rather series of bodies — that between two 
neighboring tow r ns, like Antwerp and Ghent for 
instance, no bonds are knit through marriage or 
personal intimacy, or even acquaintanceship ; and 
within each city's own precincts, merchants and 
members of the professions of law or medicine are 
not members of this social corporation, nor even 
the clergy, they being drawn almost entirely from 
the bourgeoisie and peasantry. 

Sidney Smith said, " It takes a million of peo- 
ple to make a good society." If civilized human- 
ity has so little fine juice as to need a million to 
impart to the extract called " society ,? the quality. 


quantity, variety required to give it body, flavor, 
and pungency, what must be the result of a distil- 
ment out of eighty or a hundred thousand, and 
from a population where intellectual culture is 
meagre and partial, and where there are no schol- 
ars, and few books, and fewer readers. In such a 
community a cultivated man would starve ; for he 
must have books for himself, and the effect of 
books on others, to create an atmosphere wherein 
he can breathe growingly. 

The disease of a practical materialism prevails, 
wherever on the globe gold has been able to make 
itself into heaps ; as though by the friction and 
jingle incident to the piling of coin of this metal 
were generated a miasma that strikes right into 
the heart of mankind. In a Belgian city, whose 
highest class — highest by wealth, by inherited 
title, by acknowledged position — is self-isolated, 
with the ordinary outlets choked up by individual 
apathy, aggravated by the insignificancy of a small 
State, and with the contractions of a purely Romish 
education and surroundings — in such a city, whose 
upper circle buries itself in itself, this saffron dis- 
ease, this moral jaundice is, through the stagnation 
of the social atmosphere, petted into chronic obsti- 
nacy and fatality. 

By the growth of population, the growth of 
wealth, the growth of ideas, and the diffusion of 
knowledge, the nobility as a governing class has 


been in the most advanced countries of continental 
Europe virtually superseded. The State, in all its 
functions, civil and military, can now be, and is, 
administered without the predominance of privi- 
leged classes. Hence these for the most part re- 
treat into an Epicurean paradise of the senses, 
lying on a secluded, undisputed social preemi- 
nence ; and as, to maintain this elevation — es- 
pecially with the modern encroachments of money- 
reaping industry — cash is a first necessity, a con- 
dition indivisible from the efficiency of blood, much 
of the steel that formerly sparkled in knightly 
spurs and gleamed in sabres, is now diverted into 
strong-boxes and carving-knives. 

Belgium is utterly Catholic. In a population 
of four millions and a half are counted but a few 
thousand Protestants. There is no enforcement ; 
people may be what they please. Annually an 
official visits the monasteries and nunneries, and, 
throwing open the doors, proclaims that all and 
any one may go out. But no one goes out. And 
no one goes, nor has gone for nearly three cen- 
turies, out of the Church. What of heresy the 
heel of Alva could not crush, nor his sword and 
axe hew away, was torn out piecemeal by the 
pincers of the pious Inquisitors, Torquemada and 
his deputy, Titelmann. In those terrible years of 
the sixteenth century the protesting element in 
this people was cauterized almost unto death. It 


was not persecution that then raged in Flanders 
and Brabant ; it was deracination, annihilation. 
The Flemings were, for many generations after, 
the best of Catholics, unquestioning, submissive to 
the Church. Latterly, their innate love of free- 
dom is making for itself religious vents ; and 
jealousy of ecclesiastical power, and resistance to 
priestly abuse, have become an element, and a most 
wholesome, enlivening element, in Belgian life. 

Liberal thinkers, men whose own minds are kept 
ever hospitably open to new thought, are puz- 
zled and startled by the great fact, that the lines 
drawn on the map of Europe at the epoch of the 
Reformation in the sixteenth century between 
Catholicism and Protestantism have remained fixed 
ever since. In these three centuries Protestant- 
ism has made no territorial gains. The fact looks 
formidable and discouraging, even mysterious. But 
consider the guards and influences around a Cath- 
olic to keep him Catholic. The family-power, 
which, immeasurably strengthened since the Ref- 
ormation by jealousy of extraneous hostile relig- 
ious insinuation, works hourly from infancy into 
manhood ; the force of custom on natures kept 
watchfully under the stroke of its unresting tilt- 
hammers ; seclusion, in part voluntary, with its 
negative might ; the ban upon the Bible and all 
books unstamped by the Church ; the threats and 
cajolements of priests, each one, in the mind of 


the believer, invested with a divine power of bind- 
ing and loosing the soul, — a very warden of the 
world to come ; the hold thus obtained over the 
imagination, made to move for its safety, like 
wild geese behind their leader, in the wake of 
the Church ; the dread of change in the timid, 
and the trouble of change to the indolent, and the 
unreasonableness of change to the unreasoning ; 
the mountain of ignorance, pressing ever down- 
ward ; — here is circumvallation within circumval- 
lation of fences, fosses, w 7 alls, to guard each Catho- 
lic fold, and every member of each, against the 
foxes and wolves and vipers of heresy. Add to this 
as supplementary safeguards, where there is expos- 
ure to contact with heretics, the pride of creed and 
the slowness of reason ; and one can understand, 
without despondency, why the lines of Protest- 
antism have not been pushed forward in Europe. 
But although the geographical boundaries have not 
changed, they have been countlessly overleapt, 
and the victories of Protestantism, with its freer 
thinking, its freer speaking, its freer printing, have 
been, though noiseless, so decisive and so universal, 
that Catholicism is not at all what it was in the 
sixteenth century, even in its strong holds ; so that 
the priesthood everywhere, even in Italy and 
Spain, has been obliged to bend virtually (though 
nominally never yielding) before the majestic ad- 
vance of human thought, impelled and inspired by 


the human conscience. Let not the progressive 
and the spiritually-minded despair : the world of 
mind moves, moves ever forward towards clearer 
day, even as the earth moves in the stillest, darkest 

I had not been a fortnight in Antwerp when 
there fell on me a shadow ; or, rather, rays that 
had descended with all the cheeriness of a May 
morning, grew of a sudden wintry, — the rays that 
radiate from that central sun of the talking world, 
Opinion. It was whispered about that I was a 
Protestant. How the lurid suspicion originated I 
never learnt. I had said no word about the mat- 
ter to any one. Probably on going to mass with 
my uncle at the cathedral, — my first entrance 
into a Catholic church. — he had observed a crude- 
ness in my bearing, confirmatory of vague rumors 
that may have come across the ocean respecting 
my mother. What a shower of sentimental darts 
were flying at unconscious me. With what purga- 
torial faces, in what defeated tones, was the sus- 
picion passed round, when were gathered together 
three or four feminine commentators. Doubt as 
to so fearful a psychological calamity could not be 
long endured. One day I was accosted in a shop 
by one of the matronly social summities, a lady 
whose piety was too strong for aristocratic morgue ; 
for hers was almost the only table where a priest 
was ever met. She put the question bluntly to 


me : I answered her as directly ; and thus the 
matter of fact was firmly settled. Whatever 
Catholics may believe of us, we Protestants allow 
that Catholics are Christians, or may be, as well 
as we, who seldom make the most of our Protes- 
tant vantage-ground. On hearing my admission, 
the pious interrogator showed her Christianity, by 
keeping out of her countenance, from tenderness 
to my feelings, the whole horror of her heart. 

Plenty of good men are good Catholics. Ca- 
tholicism suits for the present their organization. 
They have been brought up to it, and feel no in- 
ward want unsatisfied. I admit the fitness of 
their being Catholic, and I cordially accord to them 
the respect that man owes to man, — nay, they 
have from me even a brotherly sympathy. There 
are Catholics who are men of fine intellect ana 
high culture ; but if such are broad and genial 
and true, they are tolerant, partially tolerant, — 
and in so far un-Eomish ; and their tolerance of 
heresy is tolerated by the Church only because 
she can no longer, even against her own children, 
rigidly enforce her arrogant exclusive assumption, 
with its ferocious anathemas, its unhuman maledic- 
tions on heretics. 

For me, as for so many, it is a need of my 
being to think for myself; and the more important 
the subject the more imperious the need. I could 
as soon engage a man to frame opinions for me on 


any great life-question, especially one involving sen- 
timent, — and religion involves the highest, — as I 
could employ him to digest my dinner, or aerate 
my blood with his lungs. Had I therefore been 
brought up a Catholic I should not have continued 
such ; but the early influences about me would 
have been much different from what they were ; not 
so congenial, and more or less debilitating, retard- 
ing and sophisticating. Thence I thank my excel- 
lent mother — and how often have I thanked her — 
that she, by her upright clear-mindedness, put me 
at once, from my early childhood, into a freer at- 
mosphere. Transplanted from Belgium to Mary- 
land, she found herself in one, and she had the 
largeness to be braced by its strength. Among 
her new liberties was that of the Bible, — hitherto 
a sealed book. Simply from reading the New 
Testament she became a Protestant. 

We are accustomed to speak of the tenderness 
and care and watchful nurture whereof through 
all the hours of long years we have been the ob- 
jects, as the source of our inexpressible filial obli- 
gation, as the great cause of gratitude to our 
parents ; but infinitely, unspeakably more — a debt 
that is not to be weighed or measured — than as 
the protectors of our being do we owe them as its 
authors, as those through whom we have this eter- 
nal gift of life, this daily repeated unending miracle 
of being, with its refulgent worlds of thought and 


sensation. These worlds being vast and luminous, 
according primarily to our endowments, and then 
secondarily to the freedom and culture given to 
these, I have cause for especial thankfulness to my 
mother, that she, with throes of spirit, — and they 
were probably long and lacerating, — emancipated 
herself, and thus her children, from inherited bon- 
dage to priesthood. She joined the Protestant 
Episcopal Church, having come into it through ex- 
ercise of the great fundamental Protestant right of 
independent private judgment. In her liberation 
she was not aided by any clergyman ; and after the 
victory gained by her own mental energies, had 
any attempted, under other names and forms, to 
lay again on her the hand of ecclesiastical author- 
ity, he would have found that the soul that in quit- 
ting the Catholic communion had asserted its 
divine right, and its might to shatter creeds, was 
ready to reassert them to repel all priestly as- 

From vices incident to, inherent in all priest- 
hoods, — spiritual pride and love of the temporalities 
of power and place, — the clergy of most Protes- 
tant sects are ever striving to confiscate for their 
own behoof this essential peerless right of private 
judgment, which is at once the corner-stone and 
keystone of all Protestantism. They, too, will be 
trying to lay sacrilegious hands on the divine holi- 
ness within each human breast, — the conscience. 



They, too, like a religious passiveness in their 
flocks. They like to have them placid, dependent 
sheep, who will not attempt to jump the ecclesias- 
tical pen. They do not use creeds and formularies 
as temporary fences and breastworks behind which 
the better to defend for a while the citadels of re- 
ligious truth ; but too often as chains and tethers, 
which limit and distort that truth. In their ego- 
tistic exaggeration of the priestly office they so 
magnify themselves, that they throw a shadow from 
the pulpit on the congregation below them, — a 
shadow which they would have you think is cast 
by the argent wings of hovering angels, but whose 
chill suggests the transvolation of Lucifer with his 
pi'icle -frosted host. Seldom is one of them so cor- 
dially imbued with pure Christianity as to be able 
to proclaim the anti-clerical spirit of Christ's teach- 
ing in tones so strong and clear as those that re- 
sound from one of their great colleagues, the ear- 
nest, truth-loving, high-hearted Robertson, who, in 
the opening of his profound and beautiful sermon 
on vicarious sacrifice, says : — " There were many 
causes which made the Saviour obnoxious to the 
Priests and Pharisees. If that teaching were 
once received, their reign was over : a teaching 
which abolished the pretensions of a priesthood, by 
making every man his own priest, to offer spiritual 
sacrifices to God ; which identifies Religion with 
Goodness, — making spiritual excellence, not rit- 


ual regularity, the righteousness which God ac- 
cepts ; which brought God within reach of the sin- 
ner and the fallen ; which simplifies the whole mat- 
ter, by making Religion a thing of the heart, and 
not of rabbinical learning or theology." 


Antwerp. — The Cathedral. 

FT10 lure a stray sheep back into the fold, was an 
-*- art which had no adepts in Antwerp. Vexa- 
tio dot intellectum. is a maxim of the Jesuits, and 
a wise one. The theologico-polemic intellect of the 
Antwerpians had not been shaken up for many a 
long year ; it slept the sound sleep of priest-para- 
lized generations. I doubt whether the whole city 
or province could have furnished a champion toler- 
ably equipped for encounter with a heretic, even 
with a green one. They had been taught — and 
had learnt the lesson well — not to argue about re- 
ligion ; but to accept it trustfully from the priest. 
Open your mouth and shut your eyes, as we say to 
children. Pure religion can only come to men 
through the Church, is a kind of donation from 
the Church : this brazen blasphemy is a fundamen- 
tal Romish assumption : and you are not to look 
a gift horse in the mouth. Nor was there any de- 
sire to. To those who are cradled in it the Catho- 
lic is a most easy, well-cushioned creed. In all 
countries, but especially in those that have been 
long priest-ridden, the number of people who are 


moved to think for themselves is small, and many 
of those so moved suppress the motion. The mass 
of Catholics, when cut off from intercourse with 
Protestants, not only have no doubts, but know 
of none. And this they are taught to regard as a 
blessed mental state ! Even the clergy of Ant- 
werp — probably not chosen for their Aristotelian 
capabilities — lived so mechanic a life intellectu- 
ally, and one so unagitated theologically, that they 
could hardly have put forward a skilful argumenta- 
tive litigant. Nay, had recourse been had to the 
neighboring See of Malines, it may be questioned 
whether the Archbishop himself would have been 
found ready with a dialectic apparatus that would 
have enabled him to cut a triumphant figure in 
such an enterprise, even supposing that his Grace 
would have condescended to lend a leg to catch a 

My uncle, who had spent his early manhood in 
Protestant America, was nevertheless as much un- 
furnished as any for laying siege to a heretic. He 
did not like trouble. His own religion had never 
given him any ; if that can be called his, which he 
avowedly left to the keeping of his confessor. In 
his cerebral battery the tube of veneration, and 
the coadjuvant tubes of hope and wonder, w T ere of 
moderate size, and thus not capable of carrying a 
large or continuous charge. In the higher sensi- 
bilities he was not rich, and thence he had no sus- 


tained thoughtfulness for religious questions, the 
settlement of all which he delegated to priests. 
That, said he, was their business ; they were 
brought up to it. -They had served the due ap- 
prenticeship at the art and mystery of furnishing 
garments to keep the soul comfortable. The 
priest was my uncle's spiritual tailor ; and he was 
not more exacting towards his spiritual clothes 
than towards his corporal, that they should be a 
close fit. I am confident that he and his confessor 
got on smoothly together. Most Catholics, who 
live on their incomes, I suspect, do. He knew 
how to make things " pleasant " between him and 
his Church. The Church always wants money, 
never has or can get enough of it. " Provide 
neither gold nor silver nor brass in your purses." 
My uncle, on account of bodily infirmities, bought 
of the Church (the sum paid was I think one hun- 
dred dollars annually) a dispensation to eat meat 
on fast • days. His health would probably have 
been better had he abstained from meat on Mon- 
days and Tuesdays as well as on Fridays and Sat- 
urdays. But he and his doctor thought other- 
wise ; and so he dealt in indulgences as buyer. 

But for the religiously enervating atmosphere in 
which he had lived so long, and the insufflation of 
his zeal through feminine air-pipes, my uncle would 
not have taken my heresy much to heart. His 
was not a mind to meddle with other people's con- 


dition, mental or physical. He found enough to 
do to take care of himself. For others he had 
neither much condemnation nor much sympathy. 
He inclined to the doctrine of " Every man for 
himself, and God for us all," — a doctrine which, 
could it become universally prevalent, would turn 
out to be equivalent to " Every man for himself, 
and the Devil take the hindmost;" and every 
man would be hindmost. Besides, he had been 
liberalized by travel. He had visited the best of 
Europe ; had lived in America, where he had seen 
a Bishop (Bishop White of Philadelphia) sur- 
rounded by his wife and children, — a startling 
spectacle to a Catholic ; had been to Mount Ver- 
non and had talked with Washington. 

And here let me report a remark made to him 
by Washington, a remark in its naked self insig- 
nificant, but clothed with importance when re- 
garded as corroborative of the probity of nature, 
unfailingly exhibited by that exalted man, in small 
things as well as great. My uncle's attention be- 
ing attracted to the sculptured marble mantelpiece 
before them in the drawing-room, Washington told 
him that it was a present from his friend, Marquis 
La Fayette, adding, — " They tell me it is a fine 
piece of work ; but of that, you, sir, can judge 
much better than I ; for I have no knowledge of 
the arts." 

I continued to accompany my uncle to the 


cathedral. The service recommended itself, es- 
pecially to impatient youth, by its brevity. It 
lasted not more than half an hour, often less. 
Sermons we never heard. There were sermons 
occasionally. Inn except when some rare orator can 
be listened to. sermons in the Catholics churches 
of Europe are for the unreading multitude. In 
the Catholic Church sermons are altogether sec- 
ondary. The Church does not encourage them. 
To prepare a sermon requires more or less of indi- 
vidual thought. The sermonizer tails back on his 
own resources. He must think : and the Church 
does not like to set any one to think. A think- 
ing priest, who gives utterance to his thoughts, will 
set some of his auditors a-thinking, and thus is 
a crevice opened through which the Devil is sure 
to creep. Xo pulpit is a place for the widest 
mental range. I have heard of a Protestant cler- 
gyman who preached himself out of his own pulpit, 
the momentum imparted to his mind by the exer- 
cise of thought in writing sermons having wafted 
him up into a region more free and sunny than that 
where his pulpit was anchored. 

On the vast floor of the cathedral we generally 
placed ourselves where we could take in a view of 
the Descent from the Cross of Rubens. The spirit- 
ual and corporeal grandeur of this magnificent work, 
the strength combined with grace in the figures 
and in the grouping of them, the strain without 


distortion in the efforts and limbs of the principal 
agents in lowering the body, the pathetic tender- 
ness with which they handle the body, all of them 
proclaiming by look and posture and gesture how 
holy they regard it, the dignity and majesty 
stamped upon the compact group, the repose in the 
midst of action, the balanced splendor of the color- 
ing, and, irradiating and giving to the whole its 
great power, the lofty life wherewith the whole and 
all the parts are instinct, as it were from within, — 
these rare and varied and combined excellences 
carry into the mind an impression so full and ele- 
vating and enduring, as to justify the judgment of 
many, that this is among pictures the masterpiece 
of the world. 

The picture and the sublime architecture about 
it grew T on me weekly. Not so the performances 
at the altar. It was indeed an imposing and prof- 
itable introduction to the Art of Europe, to be- 
come at the outset familiarized — if it can be said 
that one ever becomes familiar — with such vast 
creations. It might be thought that I would have 
associated them with the services. By no means. 
They were to me grand and elevating ; they fed 
the growth of my mind ; they wrought upon my 
imagination, much more than I w 7 as conscious of 
at the time. They remain ever fresh and inspir- 
ing. The services were from the first to me inef- 
fective, empty ; nay, petty and even frivolous. 


The pious Catholic follows his accustomed ritual 
devoutly. In him the religious sentiment, habit- 
uated to this routine, repeats it fervently. The 
innate religious thirst in man slakes itself in part 
at certain stages of human development, in various 
kinds of rites and ceremonies, according to tempera- 
ment and education, — rites and ceremonies which, 
being purely human, are in themselves barren, and 
are only then divine and fruitful when by those 
who follow them they are dilated by that which is 
divine in the heart. That the Catholic is content 
with that to which he is used, proves, what is 
equally proved by any other believers, that there is 
in man an inborn revering element ; that man is 
a religious being ; that is, he is a link, and a mov- 
ing link, in the endless chain that stretches from 
the earth up through the Infinite towards the 
Eternal God ; and that through this mighty priv- 
ilege he has within him a holiness allied to the 
All-Holy. And this deep, exhaustless fund, this 
it is on which self-seeking hierarchies draw, and 
which they as trustees so grossly misuse. They 
would, and often do, make their followers believe, 
that what they give, that is, the forms and rituals 
and sacraments, are the main thing ; not wiiat God 
gives, that is, the inward need of communion with 
him, with the expansive, fortifying effects of its 
healthful, simple satisfaction. Whereas the God- 
given is the all in all ; the man-contrived is com- 


paratively pithless and powerless, deriving what 
potency it may have, and all its healing virtue, 
from the presence and power of the other. The 
way in which a man prays, or puts himself in com- 
munication with the all-enfolding Godhead, the 
means to which he betakes him to vivify, to inten- 
sify, the presence of the divine within him, these 
are no more than the casket which holds the 
jewels. Priesthoods — who are the makers and 
venders of the caskets — would persuade us that 
these are primary, and that without them we 
should have no jewels. Just leave your casket in 
their keeping, and they will polish and burnish it 
so that you would hardly know it ; and you will 
find, that most of the jewels have been transferred 
from the inside of the casket to enrich its outside. 
Look at the Vatican and the Quirinal, and the 
scarlet sumptuosities of Cardinal Eminences, at 
the multiform carnalities of prelates, at Episcopal 
palaces and vainglorious titles on the Continent and 
in England, and the fat livings and flattering tem- 
poralities and graceless enjoyments of so many 
priests, Protestant as well as Catholic. All these 
enjoyments are at the expense, not merely of the 
spirituality of the enjoyers, but of that of their ec- 
clesiastical adherents. Nature is inviolable. You 
cannot feed her lungs through her ears. She 
demands like unto like. Full flesh-pots breed 
lean spirits. You cannot eat your cake and have 


it. The priest who is beset by longings for fame 
or place or power or luxury (and some lust for 
them all) has swallowed his spiritual cake, and has 
none to share with you or me. Spirituality and 
worldliness are not antagonistic merely, they are 
reciprocally internecive. Pomp and Christianity, 
self-seeking and devotion, priestly pretension and 
manly purity, are as incompatible as God and 

Worldly priests — and how many are they ? — 
undevout priests — and how many are they ? — 
are gamblers in souls. But as counters to score 
their own earthly gains do they hold the members 
of their flock. The richer therefore these are in 
worldly goods, the more acceptable. The deep, 
sacred aspirations of the soul they turn into breath 
to blow the trumpets of their fame. They fan the 
flame of the spirit, that it may warm their kitch- 
ens. The holiest fire of creation, to which all 
vestal-watched fires are ashes, to which the sparkle 
of stars is blackness, — this ye would handle to 
make your pots boil, to light up the ghastly glare 
of your palaces, to feed your selfish heats. Sacri- 
legious charlatans ! profane buffoons ! what report 
shall be yours in the accounting days of eternity ? 

A comforter, not a director, the priest should 
be ; an aid, not a chief; a sympathizing helper, 
not an authoritative dispenser. His best and 
fruitfulest service were, to teach and help men to 


be each one his own priest. For the higher func- 
tions of associated life, and even for the lower, 
Nature provides agents specially endowed. The 
God-sent priest is known by his spirituality. Less 
clogged is his freedom by the weights of the 
world than that of other men ; the play of his 
heart less obstructed by fleshly obesities. A tran- 
scendental cheer irradiates his earnestness, making 
trust in him a lively joy to all who seek him, as well 
as a solid reliance. Among his fellows he moves 
with a super-earthly springiness, as though his 
shoulders were armed with invisible wings, lent 
him by fraternal angels. His diploma is his un- 
selfishness ; his heavenw r ard affinities are his ordi- 
nation ; his sympathies with his brother-men are 
his election to pastorship. He is entitled to be 
called a " divine," because in his thoughts and 
wishes there is more of divinity than in those of 
most men, and less proud and earthy are his de- 
sires. Like Chaucer's poor parson, — so transpic- 
uously delineated in the Prologue to the " Canter- 
bury Tales," — his w r ealth of holy thought show r s 
itself in his work. Like Chaucer's exquisite arche- 
type, " He could in litel thing have suffisance ; " 
and like him sets this high example, " That first 
he wrought and aftenvard he taught." 

A great priest, F. W. Robertson, — from whom 
I have already quoted, — great by his spirituality 
and intellectuality and truthfulness, says, " God's 


power, God's life — wherever these exist, there 
there is a sacrament. What is the lesson then 
which we learn ? Is it that God's life, and love, 
and grace are limited to certain materials, such as 
the Rock, the Bread, or the Wine ? is it that we 
are doing an aw T ful act only when we baptize ? or 
is it not much rather, that all here is sacramental, 
that we live in a fearful and a divine world ; that 
every simple meal, that every gushing stream, 
every rolling river, and every drifting cloud, is the 
symbol of God, and a sacrament to every open 
heart ? And the power of recognizing and feel- 
ing this makes all the difference between the relig- 
ious and the irreligious spirit." 

Now it is just this life of man in God, this life 
of man with God, that priesthoods would cut and 
do cut in twain. They thrust themselves between 
man and God. Without them there can be no 
sacraments ! Out of man's life and natural feel- 
ing they take the holiness and transfer it to them- 
selves. They degrade man and belittle God in 
bemonstering themselves. Look at that sensual 
face, made up for the moment into sacerdotal so- 
lemnity for administering the Eucharist. See him 
the next day, flattering Dives at his table, while 
Madame Dives picks out for him the choice bits. 
" But this is an extreme case." No, it is not an 
extreme case. It is, in different degrees, not an 
uncommon case. " But towards priests we should 


be charitable as towards other men." Aye, let the 
man have full charity, but not his priestly preten- 
sions. These touch the deepest heart of human 
interests. Here is a fellow-man who is a trans- 
parent self-seeker and sensualist, to whom the 
clerical profession is obviously a trade, not a voca- 
tion, and who pretends to be especially qualified 
and authorized to put you and me in relation with 
God, and who moreover denies to us the power fully 
to do so without his intermediation. An ecclesias- 
tical mannikin, often a dullard, oftener a worldling, 
sometimes both, arrogates to himself superhuman 
pow T ers, calls himself " divine," plays God's vicar 
among men. The Impostor ! The most that even 
St. Paul, or Oberlin, or Robertson can do is to 
help me, through spiritual sympathy. A most 
grave task it is for one man to offer himself as an 
intermediary between a brother man and God. 
Think of the awfulness of the function. To per- 
form it at all, what piety must be present in the 
interpreter, what a flooding of his whole being w T ith 
religious influx ; and to find himself in this con- 
dition, what habitual heavenward aspiration, what 
cultivated tenderness of brotherly sympathy ! 

But religion must manifest itself in forms, and 
these require a dedicated class of men. Religion, 
to prove itself genuine, actual, must manifest 
itself in acts. Forms may be and often are utterly 
hollow semblances; acts can be but solid realities. 


It is easy for a rich man, or for a number of men, 
to build a church ; it is easy to attend service in it 
regularly ; it is easy to repeat prayers. These 
are forms. Do they imply acts ? rather the re- 
verse ; for even in those who are not frivolous or 
hypocritical, and who go through them with devout- 
ness, these forms impose on the imagination, mak- 
ing themselves pass for acts. Religion being an 
invisible essence, which only in life, in daily doings, 
can be visibly embodied, if we do not live it we 
have little of it. Live as knowing and inwardly 
feeling ourselves to be beings who are to live forever, 
beings who belong to the Infinite and the Eternal, 
whose incommensurable privilege it is to feel, if we 
will, the hourly presence, the overlooking paternity 
of God ; and thus our daily bearing will be much 
purged of littleness and lowness, of animalism and 
disloyalty. Solemn, loud-voiced prayers and serious 
looks and superficial hymning help us not to this 
living. They rather hinder us, by diverting our 
esteem from the thing to the show, from the sub- 
stance to the form, and by tending to substitute 
a sentimental devoutness for a practical religious 
devotedness and dutifulness. Not lip and knee 
worship, but heart and head worship is demanded 
of us by God, for the real, not the seeming, satis- 
faction of that which is implanted in us by Him, 
— an immortal religious sentiment, which vainly 
seeks to fulfil its deep self through reiteration of 
conned words and ceremonial formalities. 


Antwerp. — The Museum. 

WHEN the short service in the Cathedral was 
over, my uncle moved toward the door, 
crossing himself; and the moment we were out, 
the whole proceeding was entirely behind and 
away from us, and we walked on, talking of tem- 
poral matters with as little devotion in our thoughts 
as there is of heavenward gratitude in those of a 
dress-dinner company just after grace. This keen 
division between the heavenly and the earthly, as 
if they were separate and hostile territories, is a 
feature of universal Christendom. Between the 
mundane and the supermundane there is a gulf, — 
not a natural gulf, but one worn artificially in a 
natural plane by the habit of devoting certain 
stated days and hours to worship, — a habit the 
tendency of which is to sunder religion from life. 
Across this gulf there is no bridge to heaven, 
which to those only is open into whose every-clay 
being the religious and heavenly mingles as an 
element of working hours. The man who has not 
made for himself some heaven on earth will find 



none beyond the tomb. He will have to set to 
work there to make one. 

Sometimes, on the Sunday forenoon, we went 
directly from the Cathedral to the Museum. At 
first the crowded expanse of pictures, like a well- 
dressed throng to a stranger, looked promiscuous. 
But a few visits, under the guidance of my uncle, 
brought out to me their individualities ; and soon I 
grew worthy enough of their company to recognize 
the good from the bad, and then, by further growth 
of vision, the best from the better, these from the 
good, and these again from the indifferent. 

In almost every large collection there is found a 
roomy limbo of mediocrity, and especially in the 
public Museum of a provincial town, where there 
will hardly be wealth of canvas and variety 
enough to bear so full an elimination as an exact- 
ing criticism would enjoin. Moreover, the picture- 
loving and picture-coveting world is possessed by 
a distressful plethoric canvas-conservatism. No- 
body likes to burn a picture. A painted surface, 
with heads and figures and clouds and trees and 
fields, and a gilt frame, hasher se, quality aside, a 
kind of sacredness in people's eyes. A feeling is 
this honorable to humanity, pointing to a latent 
faculty to honor Art. Nevertheless, could the in- 
nate faculty be unfolded up to the lucidness of 
vision that would lead- to the conflagration of two 


thirds of the painted canvas in Christendom, Art 
and Humanity would not be the losers. 

Galleries, public and private, are mostly loaded 
with pictorial platitudes. Many pictures, like 
many of their beholders, (and a full collection rep- 
resents humanity, its high and low and the whole 
intermediate semi-vacuum of the indifferent,) have 
more pretension than capacity, ambition pushing 
them to try to seem what they have not inward life 
to be. Mechanical manipulation is superabundant 
in these latter days. I suppose two thirds of the 
younger portion of those one meets in walking 
down a crowded thoroughfare could be taught to 
draw ; and through the publicity and pecuniary 
profitableness of the avocations that require knowl- 
edge of drawing, a multitude of people are profi- 
cients with the pencil. The facility in its use, 
like that of the pen to make verse, becomes often 
fatal, tempting many into a province for which 
they have neither the spirituality nor the intellect- 

Genuine poetry is a new creation, the rhythmi- 
cal result of a fresh original energy, working out- 
ward from the unseen focuses of feeling, — a novel 
incarnation of a novel spiritual impulse ; and 
painted pictures, to be good, should be poetical ; 
that is, even in their lowest form they should ex- 
hibit a fresh aspect won from reality by the light 
thrown on it from a penetrative beauty-enlight- 


ened mind. To work well with pen or brush a man 
must have in him a something new which craves 
utterance. In his brain must be born a some- 
what that the world has not yet seen. By this in- 
ward birth he must be in a measure dominated. 
He becomes, and it is his joy to become, the mere 
tool of his intuitions and conceptions. Does he do 
his work from love of the work, or from love of 
himself? This is a life question. Upon it de- 
pends whether work be alive or dead. 

The test of a high painter is, that he be able to 
paint a piece of Paradise. Now, Paradise never 
was yet on earth except partially and approxi- 
mately. It lies folded within the heart of man as 
the lily lies in its bulb during winter. The man 
of genial gift can by heat of imagination urge a 
glimpse of it into flower on the canvas ; that is, 
through the visible creation at his disposal as 
means, through man, earth, and sky, and their infi- 
nite conditions, aspects, combinations, he can rep- 
resent in their primitive purity feelings, sentiments, 
aspirations, — thus through his re-creative potency 
incarnating the invisible and spiritual. 

Art is the projection of man out of himself, un- 
der poetic impulse and possession. Thence the 
forms into which he throws himself will aim to ex- 
press the best there is in him ; for the poetic im- 
pulse is ever an impulse upward. Pictures ought 
to be, and good pictures are, a reduplication of our 


better selves. They give the echo to the health- 
ier, higher feelings, — an echo that sometimes 
comes from above the clouds, and draws us up to- 
wards the impenetrable into which it fades. 

Gaze, when in that highest state of earthly hu- 
man being, a religious, poetic mood, (and the gazing 
will feed, and sometimes create, the mood,) at a 
river, or a mountain, or the ocean, or a child, and 
you are lifted into ineffable admiration and w r onder 
and awe at the uncompassable might of the Maker. 
Secondary and akin to this is the feeling on be- 
holding a reproduction of these objects by the 
hand of man, — a creative reproduction. And in 
addition to, and quite independent of, the spiritual 
satisfaction enjoyed through the presentation of 
such elevating subjects, there is a high joy — en- 
hancing the other — in the contemplation of the 
human power exhibited ; a power born and fed 
by the divine there is in man. What might and 
beauty there must be in the mind that could move 
and guide a human hand to put on canvas that face 
of the boy Jesus in the Madonna di Santo Sisto at 
Dresden, or that other of the great Murillo in the 
National Gallery at London, or that central head 
of divine grandeur and grace in the Last Supjjer at 
Milan. Thus a part, and hardly a minor part, of 
the enjoyment, the exaltation, in surveying works 
of Art, is admiration of, and sympathy with, the life 
in the brain of man, that could so reproduce God's 


But, for a full, lasting effect, a picture must be 
much more than imitative ; mere copying of forms 
and colors is dead. The representation must be 
so electrical with mental fire that it shall kindle 
power in the mind of the beholder. To his im&ge 
the artist must impart a flush of life ; the arteries 
must throb as they do in the leg of the Borghese 
Gladiator in the Louvre. For vivid, enduring em- 
bodiments the artist's brain must be so conceptive 
as to hold in it with fiery force the object of his 
perception or his imagination ; and then so potent- 
plastic as to throw it forth again transfused with a 
poetic light. He must so love the object that he 
sees or imagines, as to seize it with a parental ful- 
ness and definitiveness, and then lay it upon the 
canvas with so light and sure a hand that it shall 
glow for ages with the warmth of his own heart. 

A true painter, a born painter, is a man who, 
had he been born without fingers, would have 
forced his toes into the service of his teeming, for- 
mative brain ; and had he been born blind, would 
have dictated to an expert amanuensis the beauti- 
ful pictures that crowd upon his inward vision, im- 
portuning him for deliverance. By this extra va- 
gence I wish to emphasize the preeminence of the 
spiritual and poetical over the material and me- 

My uncle was a connoisseur. He had fed on 
pictures since his childhood ; and his mind being 


in its texture and temperament sufficiently aes- 
thetic to assimilate such food, he enjoyed an appre- 
ciation of Art above that of the mere gentlemanly 
amateur. In recognition hereof he had been 
chosen by his native city one of its commissioners, 
sent to Paris in 1815 to reclaim from the Louvre 
Antwerp's share of the Art-treasures which the 
semi-barbarous hand of the Imperial spoiler had 
sequestered from the public galleries of the con- 
quered continent, to adorn and spiritualize his 
gross ephemeral power. 

My mother's father had a collection which was 
probably not surpassed in its day by any private 
one (out of Italy and England and Vienna) in 
Europe. It embraced the Chapeau de Faille of 
Rubens, and the Le Roy and his wife of Vandyke. 
At his death in 1821 the whole collection was sold 
at public sale in Antwerp. The Chapeau de Paille 
was bought for three thousand pounds by an Eng- 
lish picture-dealer, who, after exhibiting it profit- 
ably for some time in London, sold it to Sir Robert 
Peel for, I think, five thousand. I presume that 
were it now put up at auction in London it would 
bring ten thousand pounds. The two full-length 
portraits of Le Roy and his wife were bought by 
my uncle, who would not see them sacrificed. I 
was present when, in 1823, he resold them to the 
Prince of Orange. They were esteemed two of 
the finest Vandykes extant, and the Prince had 


been for some time negotiating to get them. But 
his Royal Highness, a lavish spender, was gener- 
ally " hard up," and being accounted rather bad 
pay, my uncle refused to let him have them ex- 
cept for cash in hand. At last the Prince, having 
agreed to this condition, fixed a day when he would 
come to close the bargain. 

My uncle, tall, straight, thin, but not wanting in 
breadth (what the French call un gros maigre) had 
the high-bred manners of the old regime, simplified 
by travel and sojourn in republican America. He 
received the Prince with the mixture of ease and 
deference and kindness which became a subject on 
such an occasion toward the throne's heir. The 
Prince was a blond, with florid complexion, of light 
build, and sprightly, amiable countenance, about 
five feet seven or eight inches in height. After 
gazing in undisguised admiration at the tall, state- 
ly, graceful canvas-figures, he turned to the owner 
and asked his price. My uncle, with a little 
heightened cordiality and deference in his manner, 
as if to efface the offence of questioning the solva- 
bility of his sovereign's first-born, — handed him 
a slip of paper on which were written, he told him, 
the final terms, — five thousand dollars, I think, for 
the two. The Prince cast his eye on the paper, 
put it into his pocket, bowed, and retired. In a 
few days the cash came, and these masterpieces 
were borne off to Brussels. 


My uncle's excuse for selling them to the Prince 
of Orange was, that thereby they would be pre- 
served to Belgium, a calculation wherein he 
wofully misreckoned ; for when, only a few years 
later, in 1831, the family of Orange was driven 
(by aid of the French) out of Belgium, the Prince 
carried his collection of pictures with him to the 
Hague ; and there, at his death in 1849, they — 
being his private property — were sold to pay his 
debts. For Le Roy and wife there was lively 
competition, the agent of the Louvre running them 
up to seventy-five thousand francs (about fifteen 
thousand dollars) for which sum they were bought 
by the Marquis of Hertford. 

When towards the end of the last century my 
grandfather emigrated, designing to make America 
his home, he brought his pictures with him ; and 
when in 1805 he was obliged to return to Belgium, 
they were left behind for greater security, having 
been carefully packed by his order, ready to be 
shipped at any moment. But there being uninter- 
rupted war in Europe, they remained for ten years 
boxed up on the lower floor of a wing of my 
father's house, whence in case of fire they could 
have been easily removed. In 1816, my grand- 
father sent for them. They were now all taken 
out of the cases to be repacked ; and my father 
and mother, feeling that it would almost be a pub- 
lic wrong that such a collection of pictures — the 


like of which had never been in America — should 
pass out of the country entirely unenjoyed, gave 
public notice that they could be seen for two or 
three weeks. Many persons came out from Wash- 
ington, and from the neighborhood, to our house 
near Bladensburg, and several all the way from 

One box had been opened for a few days, sev- 
eral years before, for the eminent American por- 
trait-painter, Gilbert Stuart, on the occasion of his 
spending a fortnight at my father's to paint the 
portraits of him and my mother. 

A few weeks after my arrival at Antwerp, we 
moved into town. Besides the academic walks 
through the Museum, I now had lessons at home 
in architecture from a professor of that art. I 
should rather say, I had lessons in the mechan- 
ism of the Greek columnar styles. I became ac- 
quainted with the external characteristics of the 
three orders. I learned the shapes and names of 
dentils and modillions and mouldings, and all about 
the entablature and its division into architrave, 
frieze and cornice. But of the life and growth of 
these members and constituents, and of the column 
itself, and how it came to be, I learned nothing. 
The Laws which govern buildings in all their pur- 
poses and proportions — how use and beauty may 
be harmonized, how the idea controls the work, 
and how only idea can give life to work — of all 


this there was no word ; nor of the relation be- 
tween the architecture of a people and its mind, — 
its wants and its aspirations. 

Now not only the best way, but the only good 
way, to teach even the very young, is through prin- 
ciples. Children are eager for the why and the 
wherefore ; and the boy who breaks his drum to dis- 
cover the cause of its sound, is in the widest sense 
representative. Much earlier than most people are 
aware, youthful minds not only grasp principles, 
but take in statements that involve large ideas, and 
carry the thoughts high and far. The whole they 
will of course not take in, but enough to be a germ, 
- and a germ that will instinctively feed itself by 
clasping roots round many particulars. Put a 
good principle into the mind, and upon it you can 
securely hang scores of facts, and series of facts, 
which without this hold will soon drop out or be 

My Professor was, physiognomically, one of those 
exceptional men whom one occasionally meets, and 
more often, perhaps, in continental cities than else- 
where, — men who in the mingling together of 
races and families seem to have been underkneaded, 
overlooked on the edge of the tray, and come out 
of the oven marked with singularity. He had 
much of an Indian's complexion and face, with 
straight, black, unelectrified hair and pyramidal 
head, his forehead being much broader at the base 


across the eyes than where it curved into the coro- 
nal region, — a shape which excludes, in the man 
or race in whom it is found, all poetic susceptibil- 
ity and artistic liveliness. Luckily for him, his 
architectural ambitions did not outsparkle those of 
his neighbors. Antwerp was for the time architec- 
turally finished ; there was no room there then for 
creation or invention. To keep the old in repair, 
or at most to reproduce it, is the limit of a builder's 
function in a stagnant city, whose glories are in 
memory rather than in hope. 

Had my uncle and the professor taken me to 
the Cathedral ; led me down into the vaults ; 
pointed out the deep broad foundations ; then built 
up before my eyes the vast structure, stage by 
stage, exhibiting to me the high mechanical knowl- 
edge displayed in the superposition of such up- 
stretching masses crowned by the gigantic roof ; 
then aroused and enlightened my poetic sensibili- 
ties by making me a witness to the marriage of use 
to grandeur and beauty, — the solid walls, through 
the mystic power of poetic art, standing there 
before me without heaviness, the lofty, light, up- 
springing colonnades without weakness, — just 
hinting at the conditions of this union ; then 
educated my perception to the purpose and grace 
of the manifold details ; and then, finally, pre- 
sented to my now enlarged perception, the whole, 
inside and out, in all its aerial vastness, its roomy 


magnificence: — had this been done, I should, even 
in a short series of lessons, have taken in much of 
the very essence of architecture. The great build- 
ing, and with it all building, would have mingled 
itself in nervous movement, in imposing power, with 
my higher faculties. I should have carried away 
vital knowledge, which would have been a light in 
my mind forever. But for this kind of teaching 
the teachers are yet few, and from the primary 
school to the aesthetic academy, routine as method, 
and memory as means, are more suitable to the 
capacities of instructors than are lively, confident 
appeals to the reason and the nobler sensibilities. 

For such impressive, attractive initiation, my 
uncle was not disposed or qualified, for he was an 
accomplished dilettante, not an earnest student of 

Unless men handle actively the thoughts and in- 
stitutions which they inherit as a golden bond of 
power, adding by strenuous invention fresh links to 
give themselves a purchase on the present and 
future, the past becomes a tightening halter that 
strangles their freedom. My professor wore his 
part of the chain quiescently, passively, uncon- 
sciously ; nor was my uncle himself — with far 
higher capabilities — at all aware to what degree 
he was benumbed by the exanimate air of custom. 

The autumn had worn away ; winter had come ; 
and I was still at Antwerp. The domestication 


under his childless roof of a fresh full-grown 
nephew from the new world was an event in the 
quiet, comparatively vacant, life of my uncle. 
People who live in industrial inaction on their in- 
comes, and who lack mental force or impulsiveness 
to create immaterial interests, moral, intellectual, 
or aesthetic, have to do daily battle with Time ; 
for Time will kill them if they cannot kill him. To 
maintain the fight they are obliged — humiliating 
obligation — to make the prosaic means of life its 
end ; so that meals, — purposely prolonged, — and 
dressing, and distant supervision of pecuniary in- 
terests, and minor social duties, and exercise, be- 
come their occupations, wherewith by aid of the 
amusements of visiting, passive reading, small talk, 
games, cards, tobacco, they fill the vacuum left by 
sleep. My uncle used tobacco in no form ; and 
cards I never saw in his house. 

The recurrent routine of my uncle's day was 
suddenly broken and enlivened by my arrival. I 
became at once an object to his intellect and his af- 
fections. My heresy did not, as I have intimated, 
much disturb him individually ; for he was a man 
of good understanding, and although not of large 
power of sympathy, had lived long enough in ami- 
cable contact with persons of variant religious con- 
victions not to feel by habit the absurd unhumanity 
of that shallow self-righteousness which feeds a 
spurious piety with the poisoned drippings of arro- 


gance, and, born of conceit and nourished by priest- 
craft (Protestant as well as Catholic) for its own 
perverted ends, makes a fallible, and mostly an 
ignorant and limited individual, ascribe infallibility 
to his religious conceptions, and pass on all dissen- 
tients a fire-freighted anathema. 

But amidst the members of an ancient Catholic 
society, the bricks of whose fabric were moulded 
centuries ago, and the mortar of their present 
cohesion compounded of traditions and convention- 
alities, a young, American, republican Protestant, 
though neither fro ward nor demonstrative, was as 
unfitting as a Gothic spire on an Ionic temple, as 
intrusive almost as an eel among crabs. The pro- 
testantism, the chief source of incongruity, might 
possibly be wiped out, and with a view to such an 
end my uncle would have liked to change my route 
of travel on leaving Antwerp, making it lead to 
Paris instead of Goettingen. On his hinting this 
to me, I objected that my father's wish was that I 
should go to Goettingen. Had the change found 
favor with myself, he would, I am sure, have writ- 
ten at once to my father recommending it. 

A curious episode it was in my opening life, 
those three months spent in Antwerp with my 
uncle and aunt ; and his image and hers come to 
me across the crowded current of forty years with 
kindly smiling features, in colors all harmonized by 
the cheerful light cast by the trustful transfiguring 
eyes of youth. 

From Antwerp to Goettixgex. 

f\^S the fourth of January, 1824, I set out for 
^ Brussels with my uncle, who devoted two 
days to showing me the palaces and pictures of the 
capital. At Laeken, the summer palace of the 
King, — where I saw an orangery three hundred 
years old, — the bed-chamber of the Queen gave 
occasion in my journal to the following scrap of 
reasoning, which, if not exhaustive of the subject 
treated, nor allured into philosophic or historic 
channels, shows at least that the faculties of the 
incipient traveller were disposed to try themselves 
on solutions. — " Curtains of the bed beautiful : 
coverlet of a light blue, velvet and gold, worked by 
the Empress Josephine : a large J. in gold in the 
middle of it. Singular that it should be used. 
One of two reasons must be allowed : either it is 
from regard to the first owner, or else because it is 
thought not worth while to purchase a new one 
where one so rich may be had for nothing." 

We went into a bookstore to buy a " Traveller's 
Guide." The title of a volume attracted me, 
and the table of contents strengthening the attrac- 


tion, I bought the book, — a French volume of 
Essays, just published. The subjects were those 
large warm ones that have an unfading fascination, 
even when in maturer years the studious reader 
has discovered that sounding titles are mostly 
promises to the eye that are broken to the hope. 
Themes there are that give such assurances to the 
deathless yearnings of the human heart for a better 
life, that their freshness cannot be worn off by 
endless repetition through the barren pens of the 
unimaginative and the unspiritual. 

My uncle could not conceal his vexation. To 
buy a printed pig in a poke was to him the most 
senseless kind of improvidence. It might be 
worse than throwing away five francs ; it was prob- 
ably the planting of fallaceous seed that would 
come up weeds. My uncle was not an habitual 
reader of books, new or old. He had a small col- 
lection shelved, hidden I might say, in a large 
closet, picked up mostly in foreign lands, and par- 
tially read. But they were not active members of 
his household ; they were not allowed to do even 
as much service as mirrors. To him they were 
little better than the lumber in his garret. 

In those days there was in Antwerp but one 
bookstore, and that a meagre one ; and in later 
years, on my revisits, the book-business was not 
much livelier. Reading is discouraged by the 
Romish priesthood. The body that puts a ban 


upon the Book is but logical in discountenancing all 
books. A present convocation of Rome's staunch- 
est Bishops would not take it as a libel, but as a 
tribute, to be charged with harboring the wish that 
printing had not been and could never be invented. 
A class of men who believe that it would be safer 
for humanity that they should do all the thinking, 
would like to do all the reading. Hence in coun- 
tries under full Catholic sway there are no public 
yearly-growing accumulations of miscellaneous 
books, and private libraries are rare. I doubt 
whether in Antwerp there was a single citizen who 
had books enough to be called a library. For 
every volume printed or circulated in Austria 
there are probably twenty in Prussia. 

My uncle once related to me, that a friend of 
his had in early manhood indulged an omnivorous 
appetite for heretical and " infidel " reading. My 
aunt, who was by, assisted him in the relation with 
such an alarmed sensibility, that, with aid of some 
other hints, I was entitled to believe, that the 
edaceous foul-feeder was a near relative of hers. 
The moral (and had there not been this moral to 
the story I surely had never heard of it) was, that 
finding his faith thereby weakened, and his religious 
impressions confused, he, one blessed day, re- 
nounced his evil pages forever, and relapsed into 
mental quiescence, and the comforts of the con- 


He was one of those half-educated men, not 
capable indeed of a whole education, — a numerous 
class, — whose moral manhood falls short of self- 
sufficiency, and who, though coiled about in youth 
by the cramping bandages of dogma and creed, 
and taught to mistrust the man within them, and to 
trust a man outside of themselves, have yet in 
stouter years the wish to break into the fruitful 
freedom of individual thought ; but, partly from 
spiritual weakness, and partly for personal ease, 
after an effort or two, redeliver themselves into 
bondage, pusillanimously playing into the hands of 
spiritual despots. 

But thanks to a long line of moral heroes, men 
with Christ-like spirit, and intellects vividly pierc- 
ing, — the providential educators and foremen of 
humanity, — priesthoods and dogmas have lost the 
worst of their power, and are fast losing their 
sanctity, which, factitious in them, is restored to 
where alone on earth it is genuine, — to the soul 
of man. Not to learn from priests did the boy 
Jesus go into the temple, but to dispute with and 
confound them. And so long as priests shall ex- 
ist, will they need to be disputed with and con- 
founded. The foremost and broadest assertor of 
the grandeur and self-sufficiency of the soul is He 
whose great doctrines were preached in God's 
roofless temple, with fields and mountains for altars, 
and the toiling multitude for listeners. To think 


what a figure He would cut in a carpeted city 
church, with its cushioned exclusive pews, amid 
the millinery and haberdashery, and the rustling, 
restless vanity of a modern congregation ; or beside 
the embroidered priest, with his stale formularies 
and his pagan incense, — He, the practical pro- 
tester against formalities and ostentations, who 
never did act or spoke word to put a brother man 
under spiritual bondage. 

The returned fugitive of my uncle was like a 
traveller who, getting enveloped in mist on ascend- 
ing a mountain, quickly retraces his steps in 
alarm. Had he pushed upward he would soon 
have attained to magnificent prospects bathed in 
light, leaving behind him the mist, which moreover 
was thickened by his fears and his ignorance. 

Who doubts that it were better for any man, 
even when no longer young, not to consort with 
men habitually immoral or vicious. But free 
choice of companionship can be denied to none 
except through tyrannous, destructive assault upon 
the personality. The danger of such assault to the 
spiritual life of mankind were as a thousand to one 
to the dangers flowing from its freedom. The 
companions of a man's solitude — his books not 
less than his thoughts — claim, for the same para- 
mount reason, exemption from control or inter- 
ference. The Romish Church has always aimed, 
not to control merely, but to crush man's spiritual 


freedom, and this usurped privilege to proscribe 
books is but one of its means of defiling the 
deepest of human sanctities. Read its list of con- 
demned books, the " Index Prohibitorum Libro- 
rum," to learn the mingled folly and arrogance of 
this proscription. 

Her high priests would press their armed fingers 
on the inmost centres of mental power to paralyze 
the very sources of thought and moral life, so rav- 
enous is their greed of rule, so insidiously remorse- 
less their means. Books are the life and the evi- 
dence of life in man's upper world — his world of 
meditation. They are at once the reservoirs and 
the conductors that gather, preserve, and transmit, 
from generation to generation, the finer spirit of 
humanity. Books are the very hour-hands of 
Time, his measurers and sanctifiers. Without 
them he is a barbarian and childish idler, with 
neither skill nor will to plant mile-stones along his 
track, whereby men shall hereafter both learn of 
his being and be helped on their way. Without 
them Time leaves behind him a waste so unfur- 
rowed and unemphasized, that .a people, among 
whom he is thus uncreative, has no history, and so 
poor a life — 

That dim oblivion weighs upon the breath 
Of its Lethean air. 

On the third day I took leave of my uncle, and 
mounted into a diligence to resume my so long- 


interrupted journey to renowned Goettingen. We 
started at seven, to breakfast between ten and 
eleven, twenty miles distant, at Louvain, famed for 
its Gothic Hotel de Ville, in ancient times for its 
University, and in modern for its beer. My seat 
was in the central compartment of the huge dili- 
gence. The stage-coach in America or England 
was a more sociable vehicle than the railroad car ; 
and the continental diligence was more sociable 
than the coach. Three of my four fellow passen- 
gers were a father and mother, with a grown-up 
daughter, from Lille in France, just over the Bel- 
gian border, going to see their sons, students in the 
University of Liege. They were samples of the 
bourgeoisie of France and Belgium, superior sam- 
ples, being kindly and comely and prosperous and 
worthily aspiring — as the cause of their journey 
proved — and of a moral tone that sharpened 
their parental instincts against Paris as a finishing 
school for youth. 

They belonged to that class in Europe who, in 
dedicating themselves to garnering the material 
harvests of human labor, become in their minds 
more materialized, not only than the better-edu- 
cated classes above them, but than the crowd of 
drudging hand-workers below them, but who, if 
somewhat debased by the habits of traffic, have 
often shown politically a brave steadfastness and 
a manly appreciation of freedom that have told 


momentously upon the history and advancement of 
Europe. From drawing the fat of the land to their 
purses and persons, men of this condition are 
mostly earthy and material in their wants and am- 
bitions, and thence have furnished but a small pro- 
portion of the spiritual and intellectual benefactors 
of mankind; From this unctuous class have not 
sprung the mental leaders — Paul and Socrates 
and Galileo and Dante and Abelard and Savona- 
rola and Luther and Cervantes and WycliflFe and 
Shakespeare and Bacon and Descartes and Spi- 
noza and Pascal and Kant and Milton and Newton 
and Burns and Gall and Fenelon and Swedenborg 
and Franklin and Wordsworth and Coleridge — 
men whose thoughts are Heaven's dowry to man, 
and their doings and memories his most precious 

Goethe is the only exception I can recall of a 
man of high mental endowment and enduring 
power who issued directly from the trading class. 
And he is only a partial exception ; for, while his 
paternal grandfather was a prosperous publican, 
the keeper of one of the great inns of Frankfort, 
his maternal was a distinguished legist and the 
descendant of a line of juridical celebrities ; and 
Goethe's father not only did not succeed his sire as 
chief of the Weidenhof Hotel, but studied at the 
University of Leipzig, and took the degree of Doc- 
tor of Laws at that of Giessen ; and after having 


further added to his intellectual stores by travel in 
Germany and Italy, devoted his mature years to 
study and music and drawing, thus planting his 
life, through spontaneous motion, in a soil where 
was to be reaped a harvest richer than ducats ; 
and, by making himself a cultivated accomplished 
gentleman, became fit to be a serviceable assistant 
and instructor to his brilliant many-sided son. 

We got to Liege for early bed-time. It was a 
long day's pull, seventy miles in fourteen hours. 
At breakfast the next morning appeared the sons, 
three of them, well-grown sprightly young men, 
who looked as though they were undergoing pro- 
motion out of the dense burgher medium into the 
rarer freer one of scholarship and disinterested 
thought. Unincumbered with adipose deposit, 
they gave no signs of future rotundity, while the 
daughter, pretty and full-faced, was palpably pre- 
destined to assume the prodigal plumpness of 

Before breakfast I walked out to look at the 
University building, recently erected, the Church 
of St. Paul, and the arched bridge over the 
Meuse. My journal records, that the church was 
" not remarkable," and that the University was 
" a handsome building with a front of eight pillars 
of the Ionic order." — So I was endeavoring to 
profit by the late lessons in architecture. 

Starting again eastward at ten, I had the 


diligenoe and the cold all to myself to Aix-la- 
Chapelle. As we did not arrive till after dark, the 
bones of Charlemagne had to go unseen. The 
next morning at seven I pursued my journey 
toward the Rhine, eating a fast-day dinner — it 
being Friday and the population Catholic. The 
innkeeper, mistaking me for an Englishman, tried 
to extort five francs from me for his fleshless 
meal ; I made him take three. The good mac- 
adamized road and rich country helped to lighten 
the hours, which my fellow-passengers rather in- 
cumbered, they being so heavy a set that I was 
better off the day before alone in the cold. 

I know not (probably dinner was waiting for us 
at the inn) why on reaching Cologne I did not go 
down at once to the Rhine, to see it while there 
was yet daylight, for we dismounted from the 
diligence at the Cour Imperiale at three. But it 
was dark when I went out with a guide, and 
through narrow, unpeopled, unlighted streets, came 
in a few minutes upon the famous river, whose 
historic presence I was aware of more through the 
ears than the eyes, as his swollen winter-flood went 
hurrying by to seek its first repose in the infinitude 
of the ocean, like a lusty turbid human life speed- 
ing restlessly onward in the dark towards the 
grave. Since 1824 Cologne has been awakened 
to something of its ancient animation by the steam- 
whistle ; but then, along the edge of the rushing 


river it lay within its mediaeval walls and towers, 
impoverished, squalid, stagnant — a gray crumbling 
skeleton of its former populous self. 

A crow, wishing to pass from Cologne to Goet- 
tingen, would pitch his flight toward a point some 
degrees north of east, crossing the Rhine to bid it 
adieu. Straight lines, drawn to connect Cologne, 
Frankfort, and Goettingen, would make a pretty 
good right-angled isosceles triangle, with the right 
angle at Frankfort, and consequently the hypoth- 
enuse stretching from Cologne to Goettingen. An 
impatient courier, therefore, bound from Cologne 
to Goettingen, would endeavor to keep as faithfully 
under the crow's wings as the circuities of the 
post-road would permit. But Westphalia, lacking 
both cities and scenery, is to the traveller unfruit- 
ful, dull, monotonous ; whereas the roundabout 
route through Frankfort, besides leading him along 
the most picturesque highway in Europe, has its 
stations marked by cities orient with historical or 
present attraction. Nevertheless, had there not 
been a grosser reason why I should take the longer 
route I should probably have taken the shorter. 
But between Antwerp and a small, distant, in- 
terior, uncommercial German town like Goettin- 
gen, there were no means of direct " credit " rela- 
tions ; and so Antwerp had to have recourse to 
Frankfort to establish, between the strong box of a 
banker and the student's pocket, that golden line 


of communication which is as indispensable to his 
success at the University as is the lecture-room or 

At eight in the morning of the tenth of January 
1824, I found myself booked for Coblenz in the 
public coach, which had now changed its fitting 
French name of diligence for the unfitting Ger- 
man one of eilwagen (haste carriage), a name the 
giving of which to a vehicle that achieved barely 
five miles an hour, can only be honestly accounted 
for by supposing it to have supplanted some old-time 
predecessor that compassed but three. We w r ere 
now so far inland that none of my fellow-passen- 
gers had probably ever stood on the wharf of a 
larger sea-port, for I was the first American they 
had seen; and the surprise was ejaculative that I 
was white, and increased to wonder when they 
learnt that I had made the passage from America 
to Europe in only twenty days. At six we 
reached the Hotel de Treves in Cobleruz, and the 
theatre being next door to the hotel, I went 
into it. 

It may seem an extravagant comparison, but, 
sitting in front of the stage, my sensation was like 
what might have been that of a Roman gladiator who 
should have looked into the dens and cages whence 
glared upon him the fiery eyes of the tigers and 
panthers he was about to encounter in the arena. 
As the words — so alive to my ears and so dead 


to m; standing — were hurled from the act- 

on, the task I was about to buckle to came be- 
sts a terror. Could I ever extract thought 

)f this senseless stridor ! My ears were closed 
very thing save a cacophany. The open-eared 

h-bors was almost insulting. 
Despair grew darker as I listened, and my loneli- 
ness became 90 oppressive, sitting : e sole 
unparticipant auditor, that after a short endurance 

ggravated humiliation, I went lack to the hotel 
I d : _ : :o my oars. 
but delight them with French or English 

me assurance that I was not utterly 

The coach for Mayence travelling all night, and 
iveyance by day. I en- 
gaged a] next morning set out 

at eight. The day was cloudy and cold, yet I 

:ed the lonely I :h Rhine road 

through Boppart and St. Gear and Binge:.. The 

Sunday stillness . the gray solemnity of 

winter, whose sunless at e was congenial to 

the sombre, silent, hill- crowning ruins — grave 
mysterious companions to the traveller, one or more 
in sight, thus seeming to pass him on 
f from stage ix stage through their mag- 
nificent domain. Lording it >ver the historical land- 
e hke resei incely patricians. As I sat 

in a - n pos t - c h aise . I h a d , in the 


postilion and his horses, other and closer company, 
and the livelier, that the biting air made them trot 
to their quickest time, which was seven or eight 
miles an hour. 

In my diary there is here an entry for which I 
cannot but take some shame to myself. At In- 
gelheim, between Bingen and Mayence, the last 
station for changing horses, " the innkeeper re- 
quested that a passenger might go with me to 
Mayence. I refused." — No reason is given for 
the refusal. I recollect the fact of the request, 
but nothing more. Whether, getting sight of the 
proposed companion, I liked not his look, or that 
the request of the innkeeper was not made with 
any vouching earnestness, or that there was a 
something in his manner which awakened suspicion, 
I cannot fully recall. There should have been 
some cause out of myself; for otherwise the re- 
fusal of what had probably been a most opportune 
service to the asker, and not even an inconven- 
ience to the grantor, shows a disobliging humor 
not creditable to my humanity. At all events, 
the refusal standing naked and unaccounted for, 
I hereby reprove the young traveller, and thereby 
premonish all others of the same age. 

Will the reader bear two or three days of the 
diary verbatim ? 

"January 12$, 1824; Monday. Crossed the 
Rhine in a boat ; current strong and much ice — 


bridge of boats removed during winter — mills in 
the middle of the river, turned by the force of the 
current. Started from Cassel, opposite Mayence, 
for Frankfort, in the cabriolet of diligence — 
weather gloomy and cold. Arrived at half-past 
two at Frankfort, and lodged at the Hotel d' *An- 
gleterre ; good inn. Dressed, dined, and took a 
domestique de place to conduct me to Mr. E. 
Mueller — left the letter, which Mr. A. Cogels 
gave me at Antwerp, my card and address. 
Went to the opera at six. German music good ; 
execution of orchestra admirable. Returned at 
nine and to bed. 

" January 13£A, Tuesday. Up at nine — break- 
fasted. Took a domestique de place and went to 
the Town-House — saw the famous Bulle oV Or. 
Inscription as follows ; on one side, Roma caput 
rnundi, Regit orbis frcena rotundi. On the other 
side, Car o his Quartus, divina favente dementia, 
Romanorum Emperator semper Augustus, et 
Bohemice rex. — Visited the Catholic Cathedral, 
ill-looking and dirty. Walked to the bridge ; to 
the Library, just put up — Corinthian order with 
six pillars, not very remarkable — returned to 
hotel. Dined at the table d'hote; good dinner; 
took half a bottle of Burgundy — very good. 
Smoked a Spanish cigar. Made acquaintance of 
a Mr. Tuck — lively youth. Disappointed at not 
seeing or hearing from Mr. Mueller. Mr. Lippert, 


the landlord of the inn, took me to the reading- 
room under the Cassino. Took supper at eight, 
and went to bed at half-past nine. 

"January 14th, Wednesday. Breakfasted at 
nine. Walked out to see pictures — one very fine 
of Teniers and one Italian. Went to see Mr. 
Mueller in his comptoir — presented me with a 
card of admission to the Cassino. Dined at one 
at table dlliote ; sat next to an Englishman, Mr. 
Maude, on his way home from walking over Swit- 
zerland. Went to Cassino. Supper, and to bed 
at nine. Ennui." 

From this last word I take a hint and close the 

The Golden Bull, whose inscription I so ten- 
derly copied, had long had a corner in my memory, 
having been carefully placed there about the year 
1818 by Mr. Constant, the capable principal of 
Mt. Airy Seminary, Germantown, Pennsylvania, 
who prided himself on his method of teaching his- 
tory, which was, to stamp upon the learner's brain 
dates and prominent men and epochs by means of 
charts arranged in vertical columns of chronologi- 
cally sequent events, so that, each important na- 
tion having a separate column, the synchronous 
events in all w T ere on a horizontal level — a plan 
devised by a Frenchman, Le Sage or Lavoisne, 
several copies of whose large historical atlas Mr. 
C. had in French. This atlas was afterward 
translated and republished in America. 


To hold in ruy very hand this compact piece of 
European history, there was an actualization of 
the boy's lesson beyond the dreams of the school- 
room. It sounds like a paradox, but the actuali- 
ties of life as much exceed the dreams of boyhood 
as a sword of steel does in efficacy, and in brill- 
iancy too, a sword of tin. Young dreams and 
hopes are illogical, vapory, amorphous, and what 
they essay to foreshow has the magnification, and 
therefore the falsity often, of forms seen through 
a mist. Bubbles they are that float off from 
the simmering caldron of crude desires. They 
denote toward which quarter the currents of a lite 
would tend: but shattered by the gales and tem- 
pests of manhood, all trace of them on the brain 
is obliterated by the melting or scalding heats of 
after joys and sorrows. Different as blossom from 
seed are they from the ideals of mature years, 
which, growing out of a deep soil, are watered by 
the daily dews of a warm experience, and are 
purified by the incessant breath of mounting im- 
aginations. But like them they serve to keep the 
heart buoyant and confident. 

The G-olden Bull, aside from its attractiveness 
to me through school-day associations, is a notable 
historical document, being a kind of German 
Magna Charta. It was an Imperial proclamation 
or decree, whose chief purpose was to define 
and consolidate the rights of the Prince-Electors. 


As an acknowledgment or fortification of the 
rights of other classes or of the masses, it was of 
no account. A German historian (Luden) de- 
scribes it as an instrument " w T hich established more 
firmly the Electors of the Empire. The Empire, 
however, which rested on these pillars was, like 
the blue vault of heaven, nowhere to be laid hold 
of. The Emperor was enthroned in a vacuum, 
and the pillars were the only reality." 

Both Empire and Electors have been swept 
away by the floods whose fountain was the French 
Revolution ; and Frankfort, where sits the sub- 
stitute for the Empire — the Diet of the unknit 
German Confederation — has, from that source, 
as little of the privileges and characteristics of a 
genuine Capital as it had when the Emperors were 
crowned within its walls. It is still but the Capital 
of a vacuum. 

To the mind, resting on the history of a people, 
its being is embodied in the great men it has 
thrown up, their thoughts and their deeds. They 
give the history. Their birthplaces and their 
tombs are the shrines of the traveller. A great 
nation's past is a long variegated vista, aglow with 
coruscations from sages and warriors and statesmen 
and poets. Alfred and Chaucer and the Black 
Prince and Wycliffe and the Bacons and Sir 
Thomas More and Elizabeth and Raleigh and 
Shakespeare and Cromwell and Milton and New- 



ton and Nelson and Wellington and Wordsworth 
represent England. They are her chartered am- 
bassadors, accredited as well to our judgment as to 
our imagination. 

It is significant that on Germany's roll of power 
there is a preponderance of men of thought over 
men of action. In kings and emperors she is weak. 
Few military or civic leaders has she whose deeds 
can match the words of her Luthers and Kants 
and Keplers and Leibnitzes and Lessings and 
Goethes and Schillers and Galls and Kegels and 
Richters and Humboldts. Between Herrman and 
Frederick of Prussia lies a tract of seventeen cen- 
turies, desert for long reaches hi active master- 
ship. Up through the great century of the Refor- 
mation Frederick the Wise, of Saxony, and Charles 
V. rear themselves high enough to be seen by dis- 
tant ages ; and following them and the offspring 
of that deep movement for mental emancipation, 
shine out Bernard of Weimar and Frederick Wil- 
liam, "the Great Elector," of Brandenburg. 

Of the transcendent glory of Frankfort among 
German cities I then had hardly a faint apprehen- 
sion ; for I had not happened to have read — what 
alone of Goethe was in that day accessible to for- 
eigners — " The Sorrows of Werter," the English 
translation of which having been made from a loose 
French one, would stand to the original as would 
the refuse from the reeky tub of a sluttish washer- 


woman, stinted in water, to the clear abundant 
current of a bubbling spring. Goethe was remote 
and nebulous. The sweet, sightly, succulent ears 
of his wisdom lay buried to me in the multiplex 
husks of German verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs. 
Even when, on leaving Germany, I brought away a 
key to all the riches of a great language, its deep- 
est treasure could only be partially valued ; for it 
is a profound virtue of this poet-sage that his mean- 
ings reveal themselves but dimly to the young and 
the uncultivated. His are pages to delight and 
enlarge seasoned chastened minds ; and in our 
later years the quiet emanations from his genius 
still fire in us trains that but for them would have 
lain latent forever, arousing and refreshing us 
through commixture of their life with ours, like the 
rays of an afternoon sun striking upon a line of 
pictures, that answer their welcome streak with a 
mellow glow and new exhibitions of character. 

From his secluded Olympian height in Weimar 
Goethe occasionally descended into the busy fre- 
quented flats of his native city. His fellow-towns- 
men made much of him ; for it would be difficult 
to find a German town, however prosaic its proce- 
dures, that would not recognize, even if it could 
not fully prize, intellectual or aesthetic eminence. 
Goethe, whose mother lived to a ripe old age in 
Frankfort, and who, in his many-sidedness and 
clear-sightedness, knew the value of all kinds of 


activities, enjoyed, no doubt, after a fashion, these 
visits. In one of his letters to Schiller he draws an 
illustration from his townsmen which contains a 
quiet irony on all trading competition. Schiller 
had written that Herder, in a letter to him, had in- 
timated that he, Schiller, had plagiarized his Diver 
from one Nicholas Pesce. Goethe, writing from 
Frankfort in August 1797, thus refers to this part 
of Schiller's letter : — "I heartily pity the old 
man on the Topfberg, that he is doomed, through 
God knows what strange temper, to obstruct the 
path of himself and others on his own ground. 
There I like a thousand times better the Frank- 
fort bankers, merchants, brokers, traders, Jews, 
gamblers, and jobbers, who at any rate bring some- 
what to pass for themselves, although they trip up 
other people's heels." 

Notwithstanding the ennui recorded at the end 
of my third day at Frankfort, I tarried there 
through the week " seeing sights," driving into 
the country, and going to the opera. On Monday 
noon, the nineteenth, with a letter of credit on 
Goettingen and a hundred silver florins in my 
pocket, I took passage in the public coach, which 
travelling day and night, with stops for meals, 
reached Cassel on Wednesday morning. It was a 
dreary depressive journey, made so in part by my 
companions, male and female, not one of whom 
could speak a word of English, and two or three 


only a little Teutonic French. They seemed to 
be mostly second and third class traders, people 
limited and ignorant and gross, the edges of whose 
selfishness had not been smoothed by lively attri- 
tion, much less aerated by contact with the upper 
strata of intellectual culture. Glad was I to 
stretch my legs and lungs in Cassel, whence in the 
afternoon, by the same conveyance, I started for 



A BOUT nine o'clock on the evening of Wednes- 
•^- day, January twenty-first, 1824, the Eilwagen 
came to a grateful halt. I was at the end of a 
wearisome journey. The subaltern at the gate, 
having in a few moments assured himself that we 
were not a perfidious Grecian horse, but his honest 
old acquaintance, the slow coach, from Cassel, 
bade our patient conductor "Forwards;" and I 
entered the town of Goettingen. 

An American youth, dropped down on a winter 
night into a German University, in the heart of 
strange Germany, deaf and dumb as to the speech 
around him, not within hundreds of miles of a 
being who knew his name or nature, or cared 
whether the next night he slept in his bed or his 
coffin: there was an hour for wailing homesick- 
ness. But youth is at once brave and plastic, 
manfully breasting adversities, and, at the same 
time, shaping itself fluently — body and mind — 
to immediate pressures ; and finding ever a zest 

1 This chapter on Goettingen, and the eighth, on Weimar, were 
published in 185G in Putnam's Magazine. 


in new conditions, those even that are the least 
sunny. I was not in redundant spirits, but yet I 
went thankfully to bed in the Crown Inn, and 
slept the sleep of healthy youth. 

In the morning, loneliness grasped me more 
stringently, as though the light of day illumi- 
nated my isolation, and made it painfully sensible. 
But in my pocket I had, along with a dinner-vouch- 
ing letter of credit, other less carnal epistles, 
which were sure to be honored as drafts on hospi- 
tality. These I made haste to deliver in the fore- 
noon. An hour afterwards, I received from Blu- 
menbach an invitation to a ball for that evening. 

My first personal contact was with my banker, 
a palmy tradesman, who, under the spur of hope 
from triple prospective profits through the conver- 
sion of notes into gold, gold into notes, and either 
into linens and woolens, was profuse of offers, of 
counsel, of topical knowledge ; and on the instant 
sallied forth with me to find me lodgings, which he 
did promptly in the Berkenbush House, No. 37, 
Weender Street. 

In the evening at eight, I was dressed for the 
ball, and had but to cross the corridor from my 
chamber to enter the dancing-room ; for Madame 
Blumenbach, instead of cramping herself and her 
company by squeezing one hundred and fifty 
people into her own moderate house, had wisely 
hired the capacious quarters at the Crown Inn, for 


her entertainment. And so I made my debut 
at the University of Goettingen very gayly at a 
dance, given by its most renowned professor. 

Among my letters was one to the principal per- 
sonage in the town. He was not the Prorector, 
nor any member of the Academic Senate. These 
high officials controlled the materiel and the disci- 
pline of the University. The personage of whom I 
speak supervised them. This delicate, preeminent, 
and invidious function had been recently created 
by the governments of Germany, for the purpose 
of stifling a spirit of liberalism, whereof alarming 
symptoms had appeared among the professors in 
many Universities. England's King being King 
of Hanover, some air of British freedom was 
breathed by the lungs of Goettingen, whereby this 
University had, in the first quarter of the present 
century, expanded to be the best endowed, and 
most liberally conducted, and the most numerously 
and variously frequented in Germany. This 
unique privilege of Goettingen — derived from her 
connection with England — having always been 
discreetly enjoyed by her professors, the new office 
was for her almost superfluous ; and, but for the 
need of uniformity, she probably would have been 
spared the shame of its presence. 

The gentleman (Herr von Laffert) who held this 
high post, was a widower with three pleasing, re- 
fined daughters, whose matron, Frau von Vede- 


myer, was the wife of the chief judge (KanzeUey- 
director) of the southern district of Hanover — 
a lady, intellectual, spirited, and graceful. At 
Blumenbach's ball these two families began their 
friendly attentions, which only ceased on the last 
hour of my stay in Goettingen, twenty months 

On the following morning, I installed myself in 
the Berkenbush House, a student in Goettingen, 
by no means a student of the celebrated Univer- 
sity. Between me and this quickening sun of in- 
tellectual warmth, there lay a cloud so black and 
thick, that, could I not disperse it, as hopelessly 
should I shiver in beamless shade, as would the 
soil of Hanover, should the solar orb stand still at 
the noon of night with the antipodes — the cloud, 
which at all times, in one or other form, impends 
lowering over human affairs, fuliginous, minatory, 
obstructive of success — the cloud of ignorance. 
I knew not twenty words of German. It being in 
the middle of a term, the best teacher, Professor 
Benecke, had not an hour disengaged, which was 
fortunate ; for Benecke, practically and critically 
master of both languages, German and English, 
and a lively instructor, was by birth a Swabian, 
and had not, in a long residence at the more 
classical North, entirely effaced certain provincial- 
isms of pronunciation, which it had been disloyal 
to lodge in the hospitable ear of a confiding 


stranger. Luckily, for those first decisive months, 
when the lingual sounds are by reiteration forever 
embedded in the larynx through the tympanum, 
I listened two hours daily, fore and afternoon, to 
the broad ultra-German tones of Dr. B., a Bruns- 
wicker, who gave especially the eu with such oily 
rotundity (delivering it like awee in English), that 
on my tongue he planted this important, ever-recur- 
ring vocalic compound in all its rich quality . 

The Doctor was the only ass (pardon the blunt- 
ness of the word) I ever knew in Goettingen. Nor 
was he a learned ass, one of that laborious body of 
mental workers — from the facilities and cheapness 
of acquirement more numerous in Germany than 
elsewhere — who have the faculty to pile up facts 
without that of vivifying classification, who know 
how to accumulate intellectual coin but not how T to 
spend it. The Doctor was, what is rare among the 
teachers of a German university, ignorant as well 
as dull. He w T as a man of about thirty, with a 
round face, glossy with health, and a continuous 
smile of contentment, and blessed with a patience 
that went hand in hand with his obtuseness. 

He came honestly by his title. Whoever takes 
a degree — no difficult achievement — in any one 
of the four faculties of a German university, ac- 
quires thereby the title of Doctor, which he ever 
after wears through life, on all occasions, until he 
obtains a higher. This is the place to describe the 


academic organization. Laying aside, then, " Less- 
ing's Fables," — which, with and without the Doc- 
tor, I worked into daily with a sudden German in- 
dustry and doggedness, — let me endeavor, in few 
paragraphs, to give the reader a clear notion of 
what a German university is. 

Yale and Princeton we call colleges ; Harvard 
is a university, because here are the several series 
of professorships, with the requisite apparatus and 
facilities, which invite the graduates of colleges to 
enter on their professional studies, whether legal, 
theological, or medical. To perfect the claim of 
Harvard to the title of university — dispenser of 
all knowledges — she should have a fourth series 
(partially supplied by the lately established scien- 
tific school) embracing all the liberal studies not 
included in the other three, and called in Germany 
the faculty of philosophy. Such is the constitu- 
tion of the German universities. There is no col- 
legiate department. The preparatory studies are 
made elsewhere. Young men enter the university 
as ripe in years and acquirements as are our 
bachelors of arts, when, at the end of their senior 
collegiate year, they pass into the schools of law, 
medicine, or divinity. Nor is the German student 
under stricter discipline. 

In Germany, the University is an institution 
of government, directly under the control of the 
state in whose territory it lies. The professors are 


appointed, and their salaries determined, by the 
state, which also establishes and appoints the aca- 
demic regency, which, in Goettingen, consists of 
two bodies : a senate of about twenty members, 
and a university judiciary court, numbering nine or 
ten members, presided over by the Prorector. 

So large and liberal was Goettingen in her plan 
and means, that she, above all other high academic 
institutions, deserved at that day the title of Uni- 
versity. For, by the number and excellence of her 
teachers — not much short of one hundred — the 
wealth of her immense library (containing four hun- 
dred thousand volumes, and reputed the most com- 
plete in Europe), and the fullness of her adjuncts 
and auxiliaries, — museums, observatory, scientific 
gardens, — there was no recognized branch of 
knowledge in which, and at moderate cost, the 
most thorough instruction could not be obtained. 
In 1824, she counted among her professors, Blu- 
menbach, Heeren, Eichhorn, Gauss, Langenbeck, 
Hugo, Ottfried Miiller ; and these, though having 
a European fame, were hardly more efficient as 
teachers than many others. 

The number of professors with fixed salaries of 
from five hundred to twelve hundred dollars of our 
money was forty-five, distributed among the four 
faculties as follows : in the faculty of theology, 
five ; of law, nine ; of medicine, ten ; of philoso- 
phy, twenty-one. Side by side with these salaried 


professors, there were (divided among the four 
faculties in similar proportions) an almost equal 
number of unsalaried private teachers, graduates 
of this or some other university, some of them 
superior men, retained or attracted by the re- 
sources of the library, the renown of Goettingen, 
and the consequent prospect of emolument or ad- 
vancement. And finally, on the outskirts of this 
numerous diversified corps, supplying less essential 
educational wants, were riding-masters, music- 
masters, teachers of fencing, dancing, drawing. 

A German professor is a hard worker. Some 
of those in Goettingen lectured two or three times 
daily for five days of the week, inspirited by the 
threefold stimulus of fame, money, and rivalry ; 
for, besides the competition with colleagues, each 
professor has behind him one or more of the pri- 
vate teachers, licensed to lecture, and striving 
to come up with him, and fill a small auditorium 
by drafts from the larger one of his senior. A 
crowded lecture-room crowds the pocket, the fee 
from each student for a course (consisting of from 
forty to a hundred lectures) being a louis cCor, 
about four dollars. Several of the law professors 
had daily two hundred or more auditors for each 
of two or three courses, thus drawing from fees, in 
addition to salary, from four to six or seven hun- 
dred louis d'ors in one term, or from eight to four- 
teen hundred in the year ; and as one dollar there 


goes further than two in America, a professorship 
in a prosperous German university may be one of 
the fattest offices in the kingdom or duchy. 

In the summer term for 1825 there were in 
Goettingen fifteen hundred and forty-five students, 
apportioned as follows : theology, 310 ; law, 816 ; 
medicine, 217 ; faculty of philosophy, 182. The 
twenty-one professors of the last-named faculty 
would have had lean stalls, had their auditors been 
limited to the 182 enrolled on the catalogue as 
especially devoted to them. Scarcely a single 
student in the other three faculties but attended 
one or more of the courses in this miscellaneous 
department. Of these 1545 there were thirty- 
nine from Goettingen itself (the town had about 
11,000 inhabitants), 699 from the kingdom of 
Hanover, and 807 from other parts of Germany 
and foreign lands. Among the foreigners were a 
Prince Suwarrow, grandson of the famous Russian 
Marshal ; a Baron Oxenstierna, descended from 
the eminent Swedish Chancellor ; three Brazilians, 
bearing the historical name of Albuquerque (one 
of whom w T as recently the minister from Brazil to 
the United States) ; and three Rothschilds, sons of 
the London Rothschild, the eldest of whom is the 
present Baron Lionel, the member elect of Parlia- 
ment. Of the German students, fifteen were 
counts, and 227 of the inferior nobility with the 
title of von. 


Here, then, were more than 1500 students and 
100 teachers, making, of Goettingen, a circle of 
scholar-hives, the scholars swarming from morn till 
night in and out their cells to gather the honey of 
knowledge from the fluent lips of ripe professors, 
and, with their business, keeping the little town in 
a ceaseless hum. Among them I was a stranger, 
not permitted to work with them. In order that 
I may get power to do so, we must go back to 
"Lessing's Fables." 

Unhappily for me, my Brunswick doctor had 
not read the " Vicar of Wakefield," or he might 
have profited by that genial gentleman's experience 
in teaching the Dutch English. In his un-German 
ignorance he understood but few words of French 
and not one of English. Sometimes, in my de- 
spair, while panting up the perpendicular steep of 
the German vocabulary, the happy Doctor, whom 
I engaged as a ladder, seemed more like an over- 
hanging cliff baffling my endeavors. At the por- 
tal of the majestic golden palace of German 
thought, I beat for weeks, ere I could see any 
signs of the life within. Then, as if on a sudden, 
the doors swung open, and I had at first rapid 
glimpses, and then, in the shifting growing lights 
that filled the interior, broad sweeps and deep, 
tempting vistas. 

The academic year is divided into two terms, or 
semesters, — a summer and a winter term, from 


Easter to Michaelmas, and from Michaelmas to 
Easter, with two vacations of four or five weeks 
each between them. By working hard, that is, 
seven or eight hours a day, or half as much as a du- 
tiful German dig, my ear had laid hold of so many 
word-laden sounds, and my understanding could 
extract the juice out of so many novel verbs and 
phrases, that, at the end of three months, I was 
ready to attend lectures, if not with the full profit 
of a native, with sufficient to reward the stretched 
attention, and with a daily enlarging sum of ideas 
taken in. By downright fagging and Teutonic 
tenacity (working right through the spring vaca- 
tion), I had earned the key to all the treasures of 
Goettingen, and, to choose which should be opened 
first, I had only to inspect the catologus prcdec- 
tionum public e et privatim in Accidentia Georgia 
Augusta per semestre cestivum A. CIC1CCCC- 
XXIV. a die IV. majis liabendarum. Passing 
over in the catalogue the three finite faculties of 
theology, law, and medicine, and coming to the in- 
definite omnivorous faculty of philosophy, among 
whose twenty-one professors and their fifty-five sub- 
jects lay my choice, what a multitudinous, multi- 
farious banquet was spread before me. History, 
ancient, mediaeval and modern, general and par- 
ticular ; German literature, English, French, Span- 
ish, Arabic, Judaic, Latin, Greek literature ; logic ; 
statistics ; politics ; aesthetics ; mathematics ; meta- 


physics; natural history; ethnography; mineral- 
ogy ; physiology ; archaeology ; mythology ; geome- 
try ; political economy ; public law. 

From this distracting variety of intellectual 
cheer I selected for my first course — what, for 
one whose German dated from the end of January, 
would be the most readily digested — Heeren's 
modern history and his ethnography. In Goettin- 
gen each professor lectures in his own house. 
Behold me, then, on the fourth of May, 1824, 
with mappe, that is, portfolio to hold paper and 
pens, under my arm, on the way to the house of 
the celebrated Heeren, in the Pauliner Street, 
proud of, and eager to exercise, the new power of 
being a German auditor. The auditorium is fur- 
nished with benches and long narrow desks, just 
wide enough to support the student's portfolio. 
That of Heeren held about one hundred and 
twenty hearers. In the assigning of places, 
hospitality is practised toward strangers, those 
being given to them which are nearest the lecturer. 
Just before me was the counts' table, at which 
students with that title have the privilege of sit- 
ting, on payment of double fee. The room soon 
filled with young men whose average age was 
about twenty, well-looking, orderly, civil. Pre- 
cisely at ten, Heeren entered, with a shrinking 
mien and rapid gait, as of a very shy man about 
to make his maiden effort at public speaking. His 


figure — somewhat above the middle height — was 
fleshy and ample without being heavy. His head 
and face were large, his kindly eyes light blue, his 
skin florid and transparent, his hair white, and his 
age about sixty. After some confusion and a 
feminine blushing diffidence, standing before his 
desk — placed in a corner on a platform a foot 
above the floor — he commenced as follows : 
" Gentlemen : for the advancement of the human 
race we should direct our aims particularly to those 
subjects w T hich tend the strongest to a wholesome 
exercise and culture of the mind. Hence, natural 
sciences deserve our especial attention. Within 
the last century our knowledge of ethnography and 
geography has been much enlarged ; and wars, 
which are so unfavorable to other branches of 
science and literature, have been one of the chief 
means of extending these two." Heeren's voice 
was distinct but weak, under effort or emotion 
running into falsetto. The moment he began, his 
words were accompanied by the sibilation of a 
hundred pens galloping over coarse paper. The 
lectures are delivered somewhat as a dictation, the 
speaker pausing often at the end of each sentence, 
longer than the repose of a period, to let the pens 
come up with him. By help of a little abbrevia- 
tion, the fastest put down nearly every word he 
uttered. At ten minutes before eleven Heeren 
ceased speaking, and hastily gathering up his 


notes, hurried out of the room in the same crouch- 
ing way that he had entered it, like a man escap- 
ing from oppressive approbation. The ten minutes 
are given, in order that students, who happen to 
have a lecture the next hour, may be punctual at 
another auditorium. 

The theory of this lecture-and-note-system is, 
that before sleeping, the student applies, in the 
quiet of his room, more or less time to revising and 
conning his notes, so as to impress their substance 
and spirit on his mind while this is still malleable 
from the warmth of the professor's breath. But 
only the more thoughtful and methodical do their 
w r ork with such thoroughness ; and it is related of 
one who, after faithfully pursuing a long academic 
course, carrying away with him a score of bulky 
note-books, on the journey lost his trunk, w^hich 
they half filled, and thus had to return to the uni- 
versity for another three years to retake the same 
notes. A fair satire on the abuse of copious 

In the afternoon, I heard Heeren on modern 
history, from the end of the fifteenth century — to 
me the most attractive and instructive course that 
I attended while at Goettingen. When, after 
describing the breach between England and her 
American Colonies, he came to the Declaration of 
Independence, July 4th, 1776, his mind, swelling 
to the grandeur of the epoch, with solemn, agitated 


emphasis he concluded, novus soeclorum nascitur 
orclo. I, who had never heard or seen the name of 
Thomas Paine uncoupled with derision or scorn, 
looked up with a sudden surprise into the excited 
countenance of the professor, as he pronounced 
" Common Sense " the most important pamphlet in 
history. The younger Pitt was, as a statesman, the 
object, to him, of idolatrous admiration ; and when 
he spoke of him as the chief of the coalition against 
France, his voice was almost choked by emotion. 

With the opening of the new semester, I ex- 
changed Dr. B. for Benecke, professor, librarian, 
and Hofrath (counsellor). Titles were thickly and 
acceptably strewn among the professors in Goettin- 
gen. Heeren, besides being Hofrath, was knight 
of the Order of Guelf. Against the assaults 
of any Swabian dissonances that still lingered in 
the throat of Benecke, I was shielded by the forti- 
fications slowly but solidly built about my ears by 
my willing, patient Brunswicker. I was, moreover, 
additionally guarded by the instructions of Madame 
Vedemeyer and the Laffert ladies, natives of 
Celle, a small Hanoverian town, the Orleans of 
Germany, the one spot in all the broad Teutonic 
land where this great language is spoken in eupho- 
nious purity. In my visits — which I now wonder 
were not more frequent — these ladies notified me 
not only of Swabian trespasses, but of all the 
others whereof their noble tongue, in its manifold 

G0ETT1NGEN. 101 

utterances, is the victim. They even cautioned 
me as to certain peccadilloes against the classical 
standard into which themselves had lapsed. To 
their other ladylike qualities, they added gentle 
voices, whose tones still live in my brain, a distinct 
musical memory. 

Benecke was a strongly-marked character, en- 
ergetic, decisive, one-sided — a man of the world, 
who conversed well and dressed well, and who 
piqued himself on his breeding ; punctiliously po- 
lite to his equals, but curt and indifferent to those 
whose equality with himself was questionable. 
Toward a well-bred stranger he bore himself with 
an air which seemed to say, — " I am a gentleman, 
and you will have more pleasure in consorting with 
me than with most whom you will meet in these 
parts." Once, at an evening at Heeren's, he came 
to me with a flushed countenance and related in 
wrathful English (which he spoke without fault) 
how he had just been insulted by a Russian stu- 
dent, w 7 ho asked at what hour he could give him 
a private lesson. The Hofrath wished, at such 
meetings, to sink the teacher, wherein he was right. 
I sympathized with him, though astonished at his 
taking the thing so to heart. With a little more 
of the Christian element in his gentlemanhood, he 
would, in his long experience, have discovered that, 
in their unavoidable and healthy rawness, the best- 
disposed among the young are liable to crimes 


against the Menseances, and that it takes years to 
polish even fine material into unfaltering propriety. 
Had he, interrupting the untimely applicant with a 
significant smile, said blandly in his ear, u Come to 
me to-morrow morning," the young man would 
have felt the rebuke and have profited more than 
by an indignant rebuff. We were always good 
friends ; but yet I fear, over his memory of me, 
whenever, if ever, he thought of me, there passed a 
cloud ; for, on his kindly coming to bid me farewell 
the day before I finally left Goettingen, on rising at 
the end of the visit, he so took me aback by expres- 
sions of thankfulness for my kindness to him, that 
I had nothing to say in return, and it was only 
after the door was closed that with mortification I 
perceived my seemingly heartless omission, as I re- 
called the blankness of his look at my silent, cool 
receptivity. It was another instance of form kill- 
ing substance. His thanks to me were mere for- 
mality ; mine to him would have been the cordial 
wording of a genuine gratitude for the much that 
I had learnt from him, and for his unbroken cour- 
tesy in a professional intercourse of more than two 
hundred hours. 

In person, Benecke was every w T ay large, being 
six feet high, broad, deep-chested and corpulent ; 
yet moving at sixty with the easy spring of inward 
vigor. I took my lesson before breakfast, at six in 
summer and seven in winter, walking every morn- 


ing to his distant house near the Groner Gate. 
He never failed to come in dressed, brushed, and 
shaved, with his capacious black frock-coat tightly 
buttoned over his abdomen — voluminous and 
warm with the best digestion of choice aliment 
— and his large, handsome, pulpy hand as well 
soignee as that of a Parisian elegant. 

From the jump we went at Nathan the Wise, 
Lessing's masterpiece — pure hard German, a fa- 
vorite with Benecke, whose clear understanding 
found in Lessing's artistic handling, clean humanity, 
and compact reason, a satisfactory substitute for 
poetry. With him I first opened the magic book 
of Faust, to wonder forever at the fantastic, weird 
scenes played on a ground of solid, burning 
reality ; in their terrible power and beauty like the 
frenzied flames that shoot through the windows of 
an indestructible edifice, consuming in and about it 
whatever is perishable. Of course, by the strange 
novelty and material blaze was I first impressed ; 
for only ripeness of experience in life and liter- 
ature can pierce the subtlest irony that ever shone 
through words ; can prize the exuberant variety, 
the divine naturalness, the brimming flow of deep- 
est thought and feeling, so wonderfully matched 
with language ; can fully enjoy the infallible art 
which draws a ravishing harmony out of discord 
and abruptest contrasts, making the fresh and 
guileless, like flowery tendrils overhanging a 


precipice, stand unconsciously, in fearful signifi- 
cance, beside the blasted and the tragic. After I 
had become intimate with modern German, Benecke 
persuaded me to make acquaintance with the an- 
cient, and we went through together the shadowy, 
grand old Niebelungenlied. In the naif poetry — 
fragrant with morning's breath — of the twelfth and 
thirteenth centuries he so delighted, that he edited 
one of its long poems, " Wigalois," from the man- 

Benecke told me that Coleridge, when at Goet- 
tingen, toward the close of the last century, was an 
idler, and did not learn the language thoroughly, and 
that he got a long ode of Klopstock by heart and 
declaimed without understanding it, playfully mys- 
tifying his countrymen with the apparent rapidity 
of his progress. When the " Opium-Eater" ap- 
peared, Benecke at once attributed it to Coleridge, 
from knowing, he said, that Coleridge took opium 
when at Goettingen. 

Promoted in my intellectual status in Goettin- 
gen, I also bettered my corporeal. The Berken- 
bush House, old, stale, and noisy, was good enough 
for a green beginner ; but now that I was printed 
on the University Catalogue student in the faculty 
of philosophy, with all the privileges, opportunities, 
utilities, superiorities, prosperities of such, I wanted 
rooms more neat, sightly, and quiet. These I 
found in a newly-built, and, what was more im- 


portant, freshly furnished house in a side-street, 
occupied by Municipal Senator Berg, with whom I 
was the only lodger. And here the reader, having 
now some insight into the mental life of a student 
in Goettingen, may desire to know about his bodily 
life and its cost. 

For furnished lodgings he pays from two to ten 
dollars a month, two or three for a single room, four 
to six for two, and eight to ten for a suite of three. 
Breakfast is furnished, and also tea, if required, by 
the landlord at a stipulated price. For his dinner 
he sends to a traiteur, or dines at one of the hotels, 
the charge' varying, according to quality, from 
three to ten dollars a month. Attendance, boots, 
and washing are all cheap, notwithstanding which 
I had a lawsuit with my washerwoman, whose bill, 
according to Goettingen tariffs, was on one occasion 
so impudently extortionate, that in disgust I re- 
fused to pay it. A few days afterwards, to my 
astonishment, a summons to the university court 
was served on me. To the astonishment of the 
washerwoman I obeyed the summons, instead of 
seeking a compromise. The judge, on glancing at 
the account, pronounced the sum total very high ; 
w T hereupon the plaintiff, backed by several wit- 
nesses in petticoats, exclaimed on the immensity of 
the gentleman's weekly bundle, protesting that in 
it, besides endless other articles, were always seven 
shirts. Hereupon the judge looked at me expect- 


antly, he and the clerk and the few persons present 
evidently awaiting an indignant denial of this ac- 
cusation ; and confident I am, that had I not been 
present to plead guilty -by silence to the extraor- 
dinary charge, his Honor would have gravely 
warned the woman against the heinousness and 
perils of perjury. Nevertheless, she had to sub- 
mit to an abatement of her account. 

The average total annual expenditure of a na- 
tive student is about three hundred dollars. Many 
spend more, a few much more, and some do with 
less than two hundred. An Englishman, after a 
short acquaintance with Goettingen, surprised at 
the cheapness, declared that, for one hundred 
pounds sterling, a man might live like a gentleman 
and keep a horse. From experience, I should say 
that his estimate supposes a minuteness of thrift 
inconsistent with the habits of one who indulges in 
so high a luxury. 

A student's life depends as much on his mates 
as his masters. Only through companionship with 
equals can the young as well as adults grow health- 
fully. Seclusion curdles the blood. The advan- 
tage of schools and colleges is not more in the 
cooperation of many teachers than in that of many 
learners. These work together, and work upon 
one another. Sympathy and competition are light 
and air to the mind. Where these are not, there 
is the pallor and lassitude of darkness and stillness. 


By companionship and collision the weak are 
strengthened, the strong tempered. At the uni- 
versities some seem to be sacrificed ; but, away 
from this crowd, would such weaklings have had 
the marrow to withstand other temptations ? 

A stranger arriving from Hanover on a sunny 
forenoon, and entering the Weender Gate, might 
infer, as he passed down the main street, that Goet- 
tingen was the seat of idleness and revelry ; for at 
the corners, and lounging along the sidewalks, he 
would see scores of students : some with the un- 
kempt, torpid look of a late beer-debauch, some 
with the saucy port of sword-skilled quarrellers, and 
all busy keeping their pipes on fire. A hundred 
or two of such give the small town an aspect of 
dangerous idleness. But, at the same hour, a 
thousand are eagerly gathering into their portfolios 
the sentences of a dozen lecturers, or silently brac- 
ing themselves by solitary study for the ordeal 
through which each one must pass to reach his 
chosen vocation ; for, not only those destined to 
the three great professions, but all who aspire to 
any one of the various public employments, must 
submit to a searching examination by the state 
after undergoing the comparatively indulgent one 
of the university. And, moreover, many of these 
loungers and brawlers are rapidly sowing their 
wild oats, and will, some of them the very next 
semester, buckle to their desks with zealous, sober 


Duelling is one of the institutions of the German 
university. When the reader learns that, in Goet- 
tingen, in 1824, there were, on an average, two or 
three duels a week, he will understand that they 
were not combats a Voutrance. Students' duels 
are hybrids between a sham fight and a mortal en- 
counter, compromises between honor and danger, a 
braggadocio mimicry of semi-barbarous mediaeval 
manhood. In Goettingen the weapon is the straight 
double-edged sword, and thrusts are not allowed. 
The antagonists stand up, sword in hand, with 
seconds, witnesses, and surgeon ; but, against mor- 
tal or maiming wounds, the following are the pro- 
visions : a thick felt, intrenchable, broad-brimmed 
hat, an impenetrable stock well up on the chin, 
round the w T aist and abdomen, wadding imper- 
vious to steel, and the same for the sword-arm ; 
and, as a final shield, the sword of the second, who 
wards from his principal some of the w T orst blows. 
Ugly gashes are sometimes cut upon the face or 
breast ; but mostly these encounters end without 
bloodshed, after a certain number of rounds or of 
flat strokes. At times, but rarely, there is a 
meeting without hat or bandages ; and then mis- 
chief may be done by the weapons, in addition to 
that of expulsion. 

The governments wink at the deathless duels, 
regarding them probably as safety-valves for the 
escape of the combative energies, which might 


otherwise take a more public direotion. These 
martial masquerades busy the belligerent impulses, 
and flatter youth with the show of independence 
and manly freedom. For the culture of courage 
they are needless ; for in this quality the Germans 
have ever been abreast of their bravest neighbors. 

To return to the matter of companionship. 

Where there is not (and there is nowhere) the 
freest play of the faculties and impulses, superficial 
attractions will often anticipate or supersede the 
deeper. Thus, at a crowded German university 
— like Goettingen in that day — in such repute as 
to draw to its halls from all the constituencies of 
the German confederation, the new-comers will feel 
irresistibly the drift of territorial attraction, and 
find themselves at once absorbed into Landsmans- 
chaften, that is, organized unions of students from 
the same section or kingdom. When, in addition 
to geographical separation — and that far wider 
than any made by the conventional boundaries be- 
tween conterminous homogeneous states — there is 
the still broader separation of language, the attrac- 
tion of speech will in the beginning be paramount ; 
and so, in the very first days, I found myself ac- 
quainted with several Britons — I say Britons, be- 
cause of the Scotch, who came to study civil law, 
which is the basis of theirs. But I had not been 
many weeks in Goettingen, when there arrived a 
fellow-countryman, in whose mind and character I 


found that support and comfort which — especially 
in the remote isolation of a foreign land — make a 
friend so valuable. He is now a prosperous, hon- 
ored gentleman. 1 having achieved in an arduous 
intellectual profession the esteem and success 
which surely attend ability, rectitude, and self- 
respect, even in a world where craft and shame- 
lessness so often thrive. Of another fellow-coun- 
tryman, long since deceased, I have a pleasant re- 
membrance across the wide gulf of years, — Henry 
Dwight, the youngest son of the former eminent 
President Dwight, of Yale College. He came 
later to Goettingen, and stayed but a few months. 
Sprightly, sociable, and affectionate, on his honest, 
unconventional manners he wore that bloom which 
mantles on an incorruptibly moral nature, when 
united with joyous animal spirits. I introduced 
him at Madame Vedemeyer's, but neither family 
took to him, and he and Mr. Laffert — who of 
course was a high Tory — never failed, when they 
met, to get quickly into an exacerbating argumen- 
tation. Dwight would not purposely have hurt the 
feelings of a fly, and nevertheless one evening, 
when French, as usual, had been freely spoken 
round the room, he managed to announce, with 
animated emphasis, that never had he known a 
German who did not pronounce French abom- 

1 "William Emerson, Esq., of New York; who has recently re- 
tired to his native town of Concord, Massachusetts. 


inably. His own French was transparently Con- 

Coupled with Dwight in my memory, is a distin- 
guished English celebrity, Dr. Pusey, who accom- 
panied him one day in a brief call at my rooms. 
He was a slight figure of medium height, with a 
thin face, exhausted by study. He worked, it was 
said, sixteen hours a day at German, whereby, at 
the end of six weeks, he had so far mastered the 
language as to be able, by limiting his application 
to the one branch, to read all German books on 
theology, the cream of which — so much of it as 
had risen in 1824-5 — he collected at the book- 
stores and carried away, to be digested in England, 
where, through the marvellous transformations and 
eliminations wrought by the cerebral chemistry, it 
was, some years later, precipitated from his brain 
in the form of " Oxford Tracts." 

Three or four of my readers may have had in 
their hands a book with the following title : " The 
Metaphysic of Ethics ; by Immanuel Kant. Trans- 
lated out of the original German, with an introduc- 
tion and appendix, by J. W. Semple, Advocate. 
Edinburgh : 1836." This gentleman, among my 
earliest acquaintance in Goettingen, was the first 
person who ever talked Kant to me, and that in 
very brief chapters, owing to the then metaphys- 
ical inappetency of his hearer. He was a short 
alert young man, with a quick eye and lively coun- 


tenance, — a vivacious talker. He told me that 
while studying Kant he became so absorbed, that 
once he did not breathe out-door air for three 
weeks ; and that when he came again upon exter- 
nal nature, the whole aspect was changed — with 
so new, and so transfiguring a mental vision had 
Kant endowed him. That he was w T orthy to inter- 
pret the deep Konigsberg thinker, whoever will 
read the above stout volume will be convinced. 

That there was in Goettingen no theatre, was to 
me a double deprivation — of amusement and of 
instruction. A crabbed old Count, who, not being 
a reading man, was, for the good of his student- 
sons, suffering in the not over-clean little town, the 
longings and ennuis of exile, on somebody deplor- 
ing this want, rejoined, " If you have no theatre, 
you have a capital comedy." " Where ? " " Blu- 
menbach's lectures on natural history." 

The renowned Blumenbach, one of the first of 
naturalists, was, moreover, one of the best of story- 
tellers, and enlivened and, as he said, impressed 
his lessons in natural history by numerous anec- 
dotes, related with sly humor and an artistic comic 
dryness, his shrewd, wrinkled countenance of 
seventy summers, playing in the performance an 
harmonious, effective part. The coming joke an- 
nounced itself by a roguish smile that took posses- 
sion of his expressive mouth. In speaking of the 
whale, after a slight premonitory pause, he would 


proceed with a gravity that would have entrapped 
a novice : " God forbid, gentlemen, that I should 
trench upon the domain of my esteemed co-laborers 
of the theological faculty, but the history of Jonah 
having lived three days in a whale's belly laps over 
into my province ; and after a conscientious scru- 
tiny of this eccentric event, the only explanation 
that I can give of it is, that Jonah, in his travels, 
was by stress of funds obliged for that number of 
days to put into a roadside inn with the sign of the 
whale." To exemplify the sagacity of the dog, he 
related that an eminent surgeon of Paris, having 
taken into his study a pet quadruped of a friend, 
to cure it of a broken leg, some days after he had 
sent the dog home cured, he heard a scratching at 
the door, on opening which, there was his late pa- 
tient, who, with affectionate wagging of tail, smiled 
up into his face, distinctly asking a like benefac- 
tion for a brother poodle with a broken leg, whom 
he had brought with him. Whether or not the re- 
later himself believed the story, it would have puz- 
zled the most sagacious physiognomist to discover. 
In Blumenbach's teaching there was profit, not 
merely from the fulness and completeness of his 
knowledge, but from his lucid method in delivering 
it. His understanding was compact and singularly 
clear, and there was in him that healthy tone 
which a life-long zealous study of nature imparts 
to a capable mind. In his speech and manners he 


had the gentleness and friendliness which confiden- 
tial intercourse with the quiet beneficent phenom- 
ena of creation had cultivated, if not engendered ; 
for he was by nature a naturalist. In figure he 
was about the average size, neither slight nor stout, 
of such a build and organization that his person 
were best described by saying that it was not cor- 
poreal. He took pleasure in conversation, and be- 
sides the evening when, in Madame Blumenbach's 
drawing-room, by them and their daughter visitors 
were cordially welcomed, he would readily in the 
day give audience in his study, enjoying much the 
visits of strangers, particularly those of British 
breed, for which he had a not intolerant partiality. 
On those occasions he was communicative and in- 
structive, and most affable. In the summer of 1825 
I took to see him an intelligent Scotch gentleman, 
an acquaintance I had made at Weimar. Blumen- 
bach, with amiable pride — for he was honorably 
alive to evidences of his wide reputation — called 
our attention to the gem of his collection, sent to 
him from Edinburgh by, I think, Sir William 
Hamilton — a cast from the skull, just discovered, 
of Robert Bruce, the most remarkable feature in 
which, he thought, was the great strength and 
depth of the lower jaw-bone. 

He led us into his cabinet of crania, and de- 
scribed the ecstasy of Gall, many years before, in 
the outset of his investigations, on first beholding it. 

G0ETT1NGEN. 115 

Blumenbach, of a somewhat timid nature, was at 
fifty too old to accept a discovery so immense and 
startling as that by Gall of the physiology of the 
brain ; and therefore to him even his own precious 
collection was but dead bones in comparison to 
what it w T as to the creative, life-breathing insight 
of Gall. 

My friend was charmed with his visit to Blu- 
menbach, and, if still alive, will recollect a re- 
mark which the kindly old man made as w T e were 
on our legs to take leave of him, namely, that no 
day passed without adding to his knowledge. For 
him, life at threescore and ten had not lost its 
saltness, which it does lose for whoever, at what- 
ever age, ceases to learn. 

A compeer of Blumenbach in age and reputa- 
tion was Eichhorn. I did not attend his lectures, 
which were exegesis of different books of the Old 
Testament ; but I paid him from time to time a 
Sunday visit (Sunday was the day for morning 
visits in Goettingen), and I was occasionally a 
guest at his hospitable suppers, at one of w 7 hich, 
sitting next to his son, then an eminent professor 
of law, and since one of the cabinet ministers of 
the King of Prussia, he inquired about our law 
studies in America ; and on my telling him that 
our basis is the common law of England, and that 
we begin with Blackstone's Commentaries, he 
startled me by expressing his surprise that a book 


so superficial should be made so much of in Eng- 
land and America. There was a piece of infor- 
mation to be casually picked up at the highest seat 
of learning in Germany. 

The elder Eichhorn, the redoubtable rationalist 
commentator, who, in his handling of Isaiah or 
Moses, cut sacrilegiously through the adipose de- 
posits of tradition, was in figure inclined to rotun- 
dity ; as though in the excessive sedentariness of 
his life — sitting fifteen or sixteen hours a day at 
his desk — his flesh stagnated about his bones. 
His face, in its expression, but not in its mould, 
intellectual, was sallow and fleshy, and lighted by 
a dark eye full of life, which contrasted well with 
his thick white hair, combed up and back from his 
not high forehead. In spite of his fifteen studious 
hours, and by virtue of the extreme regularity in 
all things of the habits of most German professors, 
he had good health. One day a friend finding him 
unwell, and asking the cause of this rare interrup- 
tion to his ordinary condition, with self-reproach he 
replied, " Yesterday I was fool enough to go and 
take a walk." He was now past seventy, and in 
1825 I witnessed the torchlight procession of the 
students who came under his windows to do him 
honor on the fiftieth anniversary of his professorship. 
It would not be easy to forget the kind, almost 
affectionate greeting this venerable scholar would 
rise to give me on my visits. With amiable inter- 


est he would ask about my studies, and the lectures 
I attended. When I told him that I heard no 
metaphysics — "In that you do well," he said. 
" Metaphysicians busy themselves with questions 
they can never solve — the essence of the mind and 
soul, the freedom of the will, immortality. What can 
we ever know about these ? " Herein he betrayed 
the limitations of his own nature. The widest and 
most aspiring minds will, and by their very breadth 
and loftiness, must put such questions, and will 
have answers to them ; and when they cannot dis- 
cover the answers, will invent such as shall be 
makeshifts w T hile awaiting the discovery, which, 
too, they indirectly accelerate by agitating, animat- 
ing, oxygenating the world's intellectual atmos- 
phere. The great themes they deal with are 
accessible and soluble ; but their method being 
purely speculative, and therefore one-sided and not 
truly scientific, they reach no solution, even through 
the flashings of intuition. But these flashings, if 
not warm enough for solvents, are enough so for 
w T atch-fires. The one-sidedness of the metaphysi- 
cian comes not entirely from a preponderance of 
the ratiocinative intellect, but in part from de- 
ficiency in the emotive element. He is too cold 
for discovery. From being subsympathetic it is 
that the metaphysician is supersensuous and super- 
subtle ; and hence his subtlety is apt to overshoot 
the mark and drive on to vacuity. The ingenious 


threads he spins, attenuated by intellectual over- 
action, wanting the staple of sensibility, grow too 
fine to bind any thing. 

Not much the junior of Eichhorn was Bouterwek, 
still an active laborer, lecturing on logic, ethics, aes- 
thetics, literature. But though, from the extent and 
variety of his literary learning, he had a European 
name, his not being a mind of original power or 
genial insight, he had in a degree outlived his repu- 
tation. To me, in my novitiate, his course on Ger- 
man literature was valuable. I still see the rather 
small head and face of the gentle old man bent 
over his notes, from which he looked up now and 
then to say his best things ; and I still, with a 
mingled feeling of compassion and amusement, 
hear him, when speaking of the Schlegels, with 
a surprising naivete, and in a tone half imploring, 
half protesting, wonder why these gentlemen let 
slip no opportunity of laughing at him. It might 
have been whispered in his ear, that the Schlegels 
— neither the most generous nor the most profound 
of men — enjoyed the triumph of prosaic, selfish 
natures in being able effectively to ridicule one 
who, with a wide fame, was still less profound than 

On the list of professors in the faculty of phi- 
losophy, the closing name, because the last ap- 
pointed, was that of Ottfried Miiller, then appa- 
rently not more than thirty years of age, a man of 


rare promise, which the shortness of his life alone 
prevented from being fulfilled. Of his thorough 
knowledge of Greek life and nature I had the 
benefit as a hearer of his course on ancient art. 
This course was delivered in one of the public 
halls, where was the collection of casts from the 
antique, which were to me the occasion of a daily- 
repeated disappointment, my expectation that he 
would turn to these inspired models of beauty, and 
through them make his lessons emphatic by prac- 
tical comment, being every day baffled to the very 
end of the course. 

The lectures of Sartorius I did not hear, be- 
cause with his rival, Saalfeld, I was from the 
beginning drawn into the only intimate personal 
relations that I had with a professor. Between 
these two there was no love lost ; nor gener- 
ally was this divine virtue more dominant in the 
hearts of Goettingen's teachers than in those of 
men less intellectualized. In its learned suprem- 
acy, the university found not a whit more ex- 
emption from envy and jealousy than does a 
worshipful bench of bishops in its lordly preemi- 
nence. The conditions are as yet nowhere com- 
passed for that perfect moral contentment and in- 
violate Christian good-will, to be bred from the 
complete fulness of outward and inward activity — 
a fulness solely attainable through the rule of laws, 
social and industrial, far deeper than have yet been 


obeyed. Thence, although science, letters, cul- 
ture are humanizing and refining, nevertheless, the 
strata of society, which, through knowledge and 
privilege of opportunities, are the superior, are 
liable like the others to be invaded and stained by 
fire-driven " dykes," and to be otherwise disturbed 
or dislocated, or, in geological phrase, made " un- 
conformable " by the action of the central heats, 
which can, through these laws only, be disciplined 
and harmonized without loss of vivifying force. 
The professors were not at all a mutual-admiration- 
society ; and to hear the full music of praise, which 
so many of them merited, it was necessary to get 
away some distance from Goettingen. 

Sartorius, besides being a well-qualified teacher, 
deserved to have Americans among his hearers, 
were it only for one opinion uttered by him in his 
course on politics, viz., that the most instructive 
reading on this subject are the speeches in the 
United States Congress. His rival, Saalfeld, was 
a much younger man, being not over forty, and one 
of the hardest workers in a numerous company of 
fourteen-hour men. Every day he lectured on 
politics, on the history of Europe since the begin- 
ning of the French revolution, on political economy, 
and three times a week on the law of nations, be- 
sides, on Saturdays, a collegium practicum diplo- 
maticum, a class for exercises in public law ; all 
of which courses, during my three semesters, I at- 


tended. When two lectures followed one the other, 
snatching his watch he would run up from the lec- 
ture-room into his study, quickly light a pipe, ever 
and anon intermitting the hasty puffs to diversify 
the nicotine stimulant with sips of strong hot coffee, 
thus making the most, as he thought, of the ten 
minutes' interval, to fortify his brain for the second 
labor. For some time, we dined together at the 
public table of the Stadt-London Hotel. After 
the thin daily soup, he would mix a spoonful of 
French mustard with oil, vinegar, pepper, and salt, 
as a sauce to replace the flavor the daily boiled 
beef had tried to give the soup. The gradation of 
his appetite, in the opening week of a semester, 
was an instructive hygienic phenomenon. Lan- 
guid during the vacation, with the first lecture it 
w r ould quicken, with the second get to a brisk trot, 
until, by the end of four or five days, when all his 
courses had got under w r ay, it would grow to a vig- 
orous gallop, to which it held till the next vacation, 
only slackening into a quiet canter on Sundays. 

Saalfeld, mobile, excitable, was in temperament 
more Gallic than German. In stature he was of 
medium size and make, nervous and fleshless, with 
a good expanse of forehead, a restless eye that 
shone through spectacles, and a countenance whose 
expression, by aid of a wide, intellectual mouth, 
shifted with singular rapidity from grave to gay. 
On a good, virile, unhesitating voice, he ascended 


at times in his lectures to strains of eloquence. 
He was a bachelor, and many a pleasant evening 
have I spent with him. To each new-comer, he 
would present a fresh clay-pipe, with the smoker's 
name on the bowl of it, and after smoking put it 
away on a triangular shelf in one corner, so that 
each guest would find, on returning, the same pipe. 
In conversation he was various and rapid, and, when 
speaking of pretenders and shams, could be satiri- 
cal without malignity. He rarely went out, but he 
did me the favor to come to my rooms one evening 
to drink some Tokay, sent me after his return 
home by a Polish fellow-student to whom, in his 
republican enthusiasm, I had given my copy of the 
Federalist. I w T as occasionally a guest at dinners 
or suppers — Mr. Laffert being the principal din- 
ner-giving host. Saalfeld would rally me about 
those entertainments, where the company consisted 
almost exclusively of professors ; and when I would 
affirm that I found them very pleasant, he would 
rejoin : " My dear sir, I will prove to you that 
they must be stupid. Our professors keep all their 
good things for their books or lectures, and are 
especially careful not to let any of them escape in 
presence of their colleagues, lest these should steal 
them ; which they certainly would. You will not 
tell me that any of them are so rich as to have wit 
to spare for their neighbors." With much gusto, 
imitating the swollen tone in which his accomplished 

G0ETT1NGEN. 123 

colleague at times enveloped his sentences, he 
would tell of an interview which Sartorius was 
said to have once had with the Emperor Alexander. 
By one of the smaller German States, or by several 
of the smallest united, Sartorius had been sent as 
envoy to the Congress of Vienna in 1815. One 
day the Emperor of Russia took him aside, and 
with earnestness, thus addressed him : " Mr. Sar- 
torius, what busies and weighs on my mind, day 
and night, is, to discover the means whereby I 
can best advance the welfare of my subjects. 
Having in your knowledge and judgment the 
utmost confidence, I address myself to you, to 
learn by what course of policy, by what principles 
and institutions, I can best attain my end ? " 
" Sire," replied Sartorius, " beyond measure am I 
rejoiced that your Majesty is possessed by such 
noble desires, and most happy that I can repay 
your Majesty's confidence, by informing you where 
you can learn all that you need to carry into effect 
your exalted purpose." " Where, my good friend, 
where ? " exclaimed the Emperor with eager atten- 
tion. " Sire, study my works." What the story 
had gained by the absence of that charity before 
alluded to, I cannot decide. 

I once said to Saalfeld, so saturated had I be- 
come with the learned effluvia of Goettingen, I felt 
that I, too, should have to write a book. The re- 
mark was the most groundless, momentary, playful 


invention, not having the tiniest fibre of a root in 
any incipient desire, presentiment, or most shadowy 
literary dream, and had any one then told me that 
such would yet be my fate, I should have stared 
with as perfect an incredulity as does the veriest 
low-browed urchin when rebuked with the warning 
that he will one day come to the gallows. Saalfeld 
replied : " I will let you into the mystery of au- 
thorcraft. Books are now written by machinery." 
" By machinery ? " " Yes ; the important thing 
is, to get the right machine, which I will describe 
to you. It consists of eight or ten narrow shelves, 
three or four feet long, movably hung round a cir- 
cular skeleton four feet in diameter, so as always to 
preserve the perpendicular position when the frame 
to which they are attached is turned by a crank. 
This shelf-armed machine, loaded with books, on 
the proposed subject, selected from the library, is 
placed beside the author's table. Without stir- 
ring, he brings to his eye row after row of the most 
choice material methodically arranged, and, with 
his pen in one hand and the crank in the other, he 
sets vigorously to his task, and the crank does the 
best of the work. Beside his desk every one of us 
has a machine of this structure." Similar in pur- 
port to Saalfeld's fun, was the fling, from a teacher 
in a rival university, at Goettingen, whose professors, 
he said, were mushrooms that grew along the walls 
of the library. One day, toward the close of the 


summer semester of 1825, — my last — speaking 
of degrees, he proposed to me that I should take 
one and become a doctor of philosophy. " Is it so 
easy to be obtained ? " I asked. " Nothing easier. 
You have only to choose one of the subjects on 
which you have heard lectures with me — public 
law, for instance — and I will prepare you in three 
weeks to pass the examination. I guarantee your 
honorable passage through. The most puzzling 
question that will be asked you will be : ' Have 
you, sir, in your pocket, thirteen louis d'ors for 
the University treasurer?'" The proposal was 
tempting — doctor philosophice : a degree from the 
great University of Goettingen. But the tempta- 
tion lost daily of its charm. Such doctors were 
plenty in those latitudes. Had the dry parchment 
cost only the three weeks' dry work, it had been 
well. But the thirteen louis d'ors; gold grows 
daily heavier in the last weeks of a student's 
career. I kept the louis d'ors in my pocket, to 
be less dryly spent, and left Germany without a 

Poor Saalfeld ! His end was sad. More true 
to his liberal principles than so many who are 
only brave in words, with all the vivacity of his 
excitable temperament, he threw himself, in 1830, 
into the revolutionary movement consequent in 
Germany on the expulsion from France of the 
elder Bourbons. The anxieties of such an under- 


taking, quickly followed by its failure, overtasked 
a highly nervous organization. His intellect be- 
came unsettled, and, in that melancholy state, he 
died. He was a generous, high-spirited man, and, 
in the palmy days of Goettingen, one of her most 
brilliant lecturers. In Germany and in other lands, 
his memory is still affectionately and respectfully 
cherished by the survivors of the many who profited 
by his conscientious, able, and zealous teachings. 


My First Vacation. 

A T the end of my first semester in 1824, I had 
-^ earned the autumn vacation. For more than 
seven months, without flagging, without regaling 
myself with the intermittence of a single unbusied 
day, I had digged and wrought at the soil of Teu- 
tonic speech, which already for some moons had 
gratefully yielded me of its fruit, and more ripely 
with each successive week. I had got to feel at 
home in my seat under the lecturer's desk. Sounds 
at first harsh had grown musical through meaning. 
The mysteries of German thought were unveiling 
themselves, and German w r ays had ceased to be 
strange to me. I was entitled, and in a certain 
degree prepared, to enjoy and profit by a short 
tour of travel and a visit to some of the capitals 
of Germany. 

In our interchange of letters it was agreed with 
my uncle that we should make an excursion to- 
gether, he timing his departure from Antwerp so 
as to reach Goettingen on the last day of the term, 
which he accordingly did with my aunt on the 12th 
of September. He travelled post in a spacious 


barouche, which made easy room for three and a 
servant, and all the luggage ; for my uncle and 
aunt, being accomplished travellers, knew how to 
limit themselves in what the Komans felicitously 
termed impedimenta, and my one modest trunk 
added little to the bulk. The attendant was not 
of that fussy, ostentatious, independent, often 
costly and arbitrary class called couriers, but was 
a quiet, obedient, solid and somewhat stolid Flem- 
ish house-servant, whose chief defect w r as his weight 
of two hundred pounds. 

Eastward was our course, and starting on Monday 
the 13th of September, an hour after noon, we ate 
at*Muehlhausen our first supper — a meal not for a 
continent vegetarian, but for a carnivorous, luxuri- 
ous, travel-whetted trencher-man, its chief virtues 
manifesting themselves in tender beefsteak and ten- 
derer partridge, for w T hich a fast of eight or nine 
hours had so attempered my young teeth that I 
astonished myself — not to speak of spectators — 
with an almost Tantalian insatiableness of appetite. 
Through the law whereby our doings are all in- 
woven into the texture of our being, I summon 
that supper to my mental presence distinctly to- 
day. The hint given by these far-snatched recol- 
lections may teach how animal indulgences that 
violate the higher nature, may not only outlive the 
body they flattered, but that, when our clay shall 
have re-mingled with the earth we have left, how 


they may sharpen themselves into spiritual stings. 
But that supper was guiltless; for every mouthful 
— so many as they were, — of partridge and steak 
went honestly and directly, without obstructive or 
malignant delays, to the building up of wasted 

The road from Muehlhausen to Gotha was beau- 
tiful w 7 ith hills and wtfods and valleys and peopled 
landscape, across which through the glistening noon 
hastened at times the transmuting shadows of 
happy clouds, sailing sunlit aloft. Did the reader 
ever reflect on the wind, what it is and what it 
does ? See it hug that towering tree, in its invisi- 
ble mighty arms folding the whole bulk of branches, 
which rebound from the embrace refreshed and 
cleansed and strengthened, the green world of 
leaves rustling with the life and joy of the heav- 
enly osculation. This is a type of the wind's 
great office : it purifies and vivifies ; it sweeps 
round the globe sweetening the breath of every 
thing that breathes ; it is the soul of the air w 7 hich, 
stagnant without it, corrupt and dead, w r ere poison- 
ous to plant or animal. Fellow-worker with the 
Sun, the vast vapor which he daily fabricates from 
the ocean, it w T afts into the heart of continents, 
bringing to all that lives a first element of life — 
the living water. 

The middle of September was too late for one 
of the most beautiful sights in rural nature — a 


broad level expanse of golden grain, broken into 
rolling waves by the caressing breeze. Nor had 
we the grand symphony of a gale, shaking the 
limbs of stoutest oaks as easily as a child its rattle, 
and verifying that fine imaginative stroke of 
Wordsworth, when he speaks of his favorite grove, 

" Tossing in sunshine its dark boughs aloft, 
As if to make the strong wind visible.'''' 

In Gotha there is not much to delay the traveller. 
The Ducal Palace, from the absence of all aesthetic 
quality, is displeasing to the eye, and at first 
equally so to the thought, from the reflection, 
how disproportionately to the means of the tax- 
paying population the huge pile must have weighed 
for its construction, and continue to weigh for its 
maintenance, upon so petty a domain. But you 
soon discover that under its ample roof it harbors 
a Museum of Natural History, and Cabinets of 
Medals and Coins and Engravings, and a Picture- 
Gallery, and a Library of a hundred and fifty 
thousand volumes. The Gallery was evidently not 
much visited, and it was pleasant to witness the 
satisfaction of the courteous superintendent at 
having the opportunity to exhibit his treasures — 
which were, however, not of the most costly — 
and his growing complacency as he discovered in 
my uncle a full appreciator of his favorites — 
chiefly of the Dutch and German schools. 

After tea we went to what was called the Shoot- 


ivy-House, where, on a large covered platform, 
scores of panting couples, apparently of mingled 
ranks, were spinning interwoven cycloids of waltz. 
Of all dances the waltz is the most seductive, to 
performers if not to spectators. In its twofold 
circling it embodies the combined movement of 
planetary circumvolution, each couple revolving on 
its own axis while playing in a wide orbit in time 
with cognate companions, the gravitation common 
to all being toward connubial humanity. This 
symbolic mystic quality gives it a unique attrac- 
tiveness, and mysteriously heightens its grace and 
beauty, wherein it is as much superior to other 
dances as an English park with its flowing lines 
is to a French one with its rectilinear plantations. 
The pairing, with relative independence of other 
pairs on the floor, typifies hymeneal union, which is 
still more pointedly prefigured in the semi-embrace 
of each couple, — a proximity which, in our coun- 
try at least, debars some of the more frugal and 
delicate - minded maidens from the fascinating 
vortex, in addition to those who are withheld by 
the nay of the soberer class of mammas. Extra 
turns, as they are called, being one of the cour- 
tesies of the floor, and any gentleman being there- 
fore privileged to whirl away from her partner any 
lady who accepts the invitation, (and good reasons 
must be given for refusal,) you have in this 
erratic proceeding another prefiguration of what 


matrimonial partnership is liable to, the waltzing 
encompassment, having possibly first enkindled the 
illegal elective affinity. 

Against the frowns of moralists, the stings of 
satire, the fulminations of the pulpit, the waltz 
has, in America, as well as in England, simply by 
its intrinsic resources, successfully battled its way 
into general practice, if not into universal favor. 
At one of our frequented sea-shore summer re- 
sorts, in the height of the season, the clergyman 
of a fashionable church levelled against it a ser- 
mon, deliberate, unsparing. One among the par- 
ents present — a gentleman refined, undemon- 
strative, considerate — rose in the middle of the 
discourse, and with his family left the church. 
What he had permitted to his daughters he would 
not sit and hear rebuked as an impropriety. Several 
young ladies, having often in conscious innocence 
joined in the waltz, uttered on coming out warm 
indignation ; for to them the words from the pulpit 
came freighted with personal insult. I did not 
hear the sermon, but from the repulsion caused in 
some who did, and from what was said of it by 
others, the speaker had evidently not approached 
his audience from the right point. He had strung 
together the easy words of common-place denun- 
ciation, and, as much by shallowness as harshness, 
had with his first sentences wounded heathful sen- 
sibilities, smiting coarsely right upon the self-love 


of his hearers instead of appealing unassumingly 
to their self-respect, coldly casting his condemna- 
tion over them as an empowered superior, instead 
of gaining their ears through the irresistible solici- 
tations of fraternal sympathy. 

Some preachers would do quite as well to hurl 
from the pulpit billets of wood at their parishioners 
as the words sometimes thrown out, so lifeless are 
these, so blockish, so unsympathetic, and at the 
same time so dictatorial, and thence so irritating 
and obnoxious. A kindly, tender, simple, not 
over-colored setting forth of the danger to modesty 
and maidenly reserve through the contacts of the 
waltz, a brotherly suggestion of what need there 
ever is of parental clutifulness, and still more of 
self-watchfulness, in order that the fires within the 
human breast, kindled there by God, to warm and 
illume the world, burn not profanely but always 
holily, — a premonition in this tone might have 
wrought upon the father, (whom the opposite one 
had offended,) to reconsider his parental permission; 
and, through the feelings awakened in the ingenu- 
ous girls, might have alarmed their modesty, and 
upon all present have produced a sound restrain- 
ing effect. 

The waltz, as miscellaneously practised, is a 
questionable indulgence, not to refined young 
women merely, but to both sexes ; for young men 
may, and often do, enter the world with feelings as 


chaste as those of unspotted well-guarded girls, and 
with a profound boundless respect for the other sex, 
especially for its purity. These feelings should, in 
opening life, be carefully cherished on both sides ; 
for, although to the pure all things are pure, some 
conditions and conjunctions being hostile to con- 
tinued purity, the whitest may, insensibly to them- 
selves, in certain exposures, become soiled ; and 
where there is on one side callow innocence and on 
the other polished sensuality, the ingenuous may 
receive a taint of which the feelings will not in all 
cases be readily disinfected. What can be said 
positively is this : — there would be no harm in 
angels waltzing. 

From Gotha to Weimar was a sunny mid-day 
drive of five hours. To travellers the theatre is 
always a post-prandial resource. The Diary has 
no note, nor have I any recollection of what we 
saw there ; but whatever it was, it gave occasion, 
between my uncle and me, to a discussion on the 
Unities, sentences whereof might have been heard 
by Goethe, had he been on the alert, for in high 
talk we passed under his windows on our way back 
to the hotel ; and as Goethe had the faculty of 
feeding his wisdom from the utmost variety of food, 
and could, with his genial power of appropriation, 
draw drops of nourishing juice out of fragments 
and driest or crudest material, he might have 
caught a breath of profit from the flitting discus- 


sion. The disputants did not go far into prin- 
ciples ; for that they were both too inexpert. My 
Tmcle, though master of English, had not mastered 
Shakespeare. His notions on dramatic models were 
drawn from the practice of Corneille and Racine, 
and the interpretations of JBoileau. My citadel was 
Shakespeare, and from the sallies I attempted to 
make into the enemy's lines, I quickly fell back 
upon him, finding that the most efficient weapons 
my adolescent tongue could wield were his exam- 
ple and towering success. At that time I had not 
studied his pages, and had only partially read 
them — in so far as any one can be said to read 
Shakespeare without studying him. But I knew 
that he was a mighty power, and the unhewn argu- 
ment I drew from his splendid practice was enough 
to hold me unharmed against an opponent who was 
not strongly founded in poetic principles nor over- 
skilled in critical dialectics. 

On the sixteenth we made a long day from Wei- 
mar, through Naumburg and Lutzen to Leipzig, 
whose plains have been martial arenas where with 
the sword mighty causes were tried. When these 
encounters have possession of the mind the one 
man who haunts the imagination is the great 
Swede — truly a king among men — Gustavus 
Adolphus. Him in his heroic stature, we look up 
at, the heart heaving with high emotion as we gaze 
and spring toward a nature so noble and com- 


After a three days' carnage Napoleon fled beaten 
and baffled from the field of Leipzig which, con- 
sidering the hundreds of thousands engaged, and 
the vastness and complication of the interests de- 
pendent, was one of the critical battles of history. 
Voelkerschlacht the Germans name it, — Battle of 
the Nations, — so many, nearly all indeed, of the 
States of Europe being there represented on one or 
the other side. Had Napoleon been victor at Leip- 
zig, there had been no Waterloo. But sooner or 
later he was doomed to be crushed ; for his godless 
mind, lacking all sense of humility and moral limi- 
tation, aimed at material heights forbidden to man ; 
Ms will, not divine will, being to him the law su- 
preme. He was a gigantic practical blasphemer. 

Leipzig, now a city of one hundred thousand 
souls, counted then but thirty- five thousand. 
Through beautiful shaded paths and gardens I 
walked nearly round it, and then from the top of 
the Observatory had a wide view, including the 
w T hole battle-field. The streets were big with the 
coming fair. But the principal events of my one day 
in Leipzig were scholarly. There is a custom in 
Germany — a generous duteous custom, significant 
of the largeness and free munificence of letters — 
whereby elevated teachers and men of learning or 
literature lay themselves open to all who wish to 
come within the personal sphere of their light. 
You need no voucher or introduction, but go up to 


the door and knock. You are received with an 
easy welcome, with a manner which says, ' I ex- 
pected you, and am happy to see you.' The 
intellectual magnates of the land keep open hall, 
and any one' who knows them to be such, or is in 
any degree capable of enjoying their high hospi- 
tality, is welcomed and entertained. 

On the University advertisement I found the 
names of the Professors of History, (that being 
the subject with whose vocabulary my ear was 
most intimate,) and their hours of lecturing ; and 
after listening to two of them in the auditorium 
penetrated to the sanctum. In the morning I 
heard and visited Professor Wieland, who on that 
day happened to be biographical, and thence the 
more attractive, sketching Francis I., Maria The- 
resa, Frederick the Great, and Joseph I. ; and in 
the afternoon Professor Beck on the Seven Years' 
War. As the forenoon lecturer had touched on 
this famous conflict, and it had of course a place 
in Heeren's modern history, which I had just 
been attending, the kindly old gentleman laughed 
heartily when on my return to Goettingen I re- 
lated to him my lecturing adventures in Leipzig, 
with the double repetition of the Seven Years' War. 

Starting from Leipzig at eight in the morning, 
we fell short of Dresden, and made our evening 
halt at Meissen, which was a long posting-day from 
Leipzig, entering the capital on Sunday morning 
the nineteenth. 


Dresden is a rich heiress, her heritage being 
picture-galleries and artistic collections bequeathed 
by some of her former sovereign fathers, to whom, 
by stranger as well as native, rare honor be given, 
that their royal wills were subject to such noble 
preferences. Many objects in several of the col- 
lections are more curious, from manipulating skill 
and eccentric fancy, than aesthetically satisfying ; 
but the picture-gallery is one of the finest in Eu- 
rope, and the cabinet of engravings is unique in 
its fulness and excellence. 

To me, Dresden is memorable, that there I first 
beheld a King. A King ! What an endless in- 
visible line of kings ; of kings read of, kings fan- 
cied, kings stowed in the ambitious memory in- 
numerable, kings exalted, bedecked by juvenile 
imaginations, — a line stretching back into the 
cloud-lands of history, through all ages and coun- 
tries, was now T to terminate in visible anatomic 
actuality, expectation being exasperated by a life- 
long transatlantic remoteness from all regal pres- 
ence, and only tantalized occasionally by begilded 
counterfeits on the stage. My uncle was too 
workmanlike a traveller and active sight-seer to let 
opportunities escape ; so an hour after our arrival 
we found ourselves stationed in the gallery through 
which the royal family passes on its way from 
the palace to the Catholic Church. Soon there 
were signs of the coming. Of what a trial he 


was about to abide ; of what multifarious pre- 
figurement his moving person was going to be the 
consummation ; of the republican eyes, as yet 
virgin of royalty, eagerly set for him ; of all this 
totally unconscious, on came his Saxon Majesty, 
Augustus III. An angle near where we stood 
shut us off from the royal party until it was close 
upon us : — and there at last was a King, an old 
man, " a fine respectable-looking man," says the 
Diary, dressed like other men, wearing no insignia 
except, I think, a broad blue ribbon across his 
breast. From the old King my eyes were soon 
diverted to one of the young Princesses, with a 
pretty, happy face. 

The King gave me a new sensation — no tri- 
umphant performance when the subject is a youth 
not much out of his teens. Some days after I in 
return gave him one ; and as he was in his seventy- 
second year, that was a satisfaction which probably 
neither courtier nor subject could have afforded 

It was then a custom for the royal family, when 
at the summer-palace in Pilnitz, to dine on certain 
days in public ; that is, into a gallery overlooking 
the dining-room spectators were admitted, tickets 
being issued by the proper official. Historic anti- 
quaries probably know the origin of the custom. 
At the appointed hour, (a wholesome early one if 
I remember right,) we, with a few other excessive 


naturalists, were seated in the predominating gal- 
lery, and in a few moments the regal party, about 
a dozen in number, entered and took their seats 
with the unceremonious ease of well-dressed citi- 
zens around a family dinner-table. Persons royal 
being objects of everybody's knowledge, we up- 
stairs were acquainted with the company below, 
while they knew no more of us than that we were 
individuals selected for over-curiosity. I think, by 
the by, that had I been at the table I should have 
had a prepossession against my over-lookers as a 
prying vacant rabble, who had nothing better to do 
than to spend time in seeing other people eat. It 
was, at all events, proper — being congregated 
together in the banquet-hall — that they at the 
table should on their side be made acquainted 
with us. Accordingly by the plate of the King 
was laid a list of all the spectators, made out with 
police-particularity, country, profession, age of each 
one being given. The ethnographic bill of fare 
may have been assistant to the culinary, causing a 
slight mental movement, and thus sharpening the 
relish of the soup, the nationalities of the gazers 
acting as a gentle excitant upon the palates of the 
tasters. Through the means of this form of pre- 
sentation we partook somewhat of the character of 
spectatorial envoys. When the King came to 
Americain his Majesty ejaculated, Mon Dieu ! and 
cast his royal eyes up to the gallery, expecting 


doubtless to recognize the American by his skin. 
This movement was followed all round the royal 
board,, and the disappointment was probably general 
that among the lookers-on above there was neither 
a red man nor a black man. 

When you consider the interior geographical 
remoteness of Dresden, that in 1824 there was 
neither locomotive nor steamboat in Germany ; that 
during the Napoleonic wars few Americans trav- 
elled in Europe ; that at that time we never had 
been diplomatically represented at Dresden ; it may 
be honestly inferred that his Saxon Majesty had 
never consciously looked on a citizen of the United 
States, and therefore, that I was as novel a sight 
to him as he w T as to me, and thus that on the score 
of new sensations the Democrat and the King were 
quits. 1 

The picture-gallery was to my uncle a pasture 
glistening every morning with the dew of fresh 
beauties. By his side I walked a somewhat wilful 
colt. Not always duly considering the difficulty to 
the young aesthetic stomach of digesting large and 

1 This was written before the publication of Washington Irving's 
Life and Letters, where we learn that in 1822 he spent several 
months at Dresden, and was a frequent guest at the palace. As 
one swallow does not make a summer, one American, even one so 
attractive and distinguished as Mr. Irving, could hardly have been 
sufficient to impress the notion of American nationality upon the 
brain of the sluggish old King; so that although the sensation I 
gave him was not a virgin one, it was akin to that, just as second 
love is sometimes almost as warm as first. 


frequent meals of such concentrated food, my 
uncle would be piqued and disappointed if I at 
times grew wearied and restless, when his mature 
and practised faculties were still unsatisfied. Nat- 
ure and instinct were, however, trusty guides to 
me ; for in all forms and degrees of education, 
from the infantine primary to the virile academic, 
it is bootless to load the memory or perception 
with quantity or kind which the intellectual or 
sympathetic curiosity cannot appropriate. 

Among the collections of Dresden, is one of an- 
tique marbles, a chaos of fragmentary reliques of 
ancient sculpture, limbs and heads and torsos and 
mutilated bodies, — marbles which have some 
value to the graduated connoisseur, and more to 
the professional student who has no access to the 
most inspired remains of ancient genius ; but 
which, to the freshman in Art, have little other 
than the momentary interest derived from their an- 
tiquity. Ere the learned cicerone — whose tongue 
had never been cleansed by the benediction of 
brevity — got half through his biographico-critico- 
assthetic exposition, I was jaded, and had I been 
obliged to follow him to the end, should, long be- 
fore he reached it, have begun to wish that at sun- 
rise he had been made to swim the Elbe haltered 
with the heaviest of his treasures. 

The Greeks (and ancient sculpture though dug 
up at Rome is all Greek) were predominantly sen- 


suous ; and this quality, modifying, and limiting by 
materializing, their religious and sentimental con- 
ceptions, made them in Art finite, and thence in 
sculpture and architecture, even more than in 
written poetry, classical ; that is, the forms, whether 
the human body, or a temple, or human life in a 
fable, definitely circumscribed the substance, which 
substance at the same time — owing to the over- 
ruling sensuousness of their minds — was not con- 
strained by the form, but married itself happily 
thereto, the emotional and spiritual element in them 
not striving to burst the fleshly bonds, not stretch- 
ing up yearnful toward the Infinite. Thence their 
sphere in Art was comparatively restricted ; and 
their great intellectual powers being concentrated 
upon a subject that presented itself round and 
compact and definite, the product — manipulated 
under guidance of their unfailing sense of beauty 
— was perfectly satisfying. Their nature was not 
commensurably developed on the upper side, as is 
proved by their greatest, that marvellous, creation, 
their mythology. 

Now, Romantic or Christian Art is Art whose 
chief aim is, not to represent forms in their highest 
perfection, animated more or less with the life of 
the soul, but through the highest types of form to 
embody and give power to this life, all forms being 
used for and subordinated to a spiritual purpose, a 
means to incarnate the higher emotional. Thence, 


having a wider scope, Christian Art finds greater 
difficulty in harmonizing form and substance, and, 
though richer in opportunities and grander, and 
appealing to deeper sources in the human spirit, is 
more apt, through this very superiority, to fall 
short of the satisfying effect of Pagan Art. 

Stand, not directly in front, but somewhat aside, 
where you have a view of one of the flanks as well 
as the front of a Greek Temple. From this one 
point the whole edifice is taken into the mind. 
Without stirring, you have in reach of your eye 
all its constituents : you imbibe at one draught its 
essence ; you exhaust — no, that you do not, for 
" a thing of beauty," even the most bounded is in- 
exhaustible, u a joy forever " — but you compass 
its whole nature. Within these two quadrangles is 
enclosed its entire circle of beauties, which are all 
external, for the interior is a confined dark recep- 
tacle, not to be trodden by the many. 

Now look at a Gothic Cathedal from a similar 
point. The vision, and the thought behind it, are 
not at the first aspect rigidly pent into square 
frames, — the upper side whereof is in the Grecian 
Temple, bounded by the broad entablature with its 
multiplied layers of horizontal lines, — locking the 
building up in columned quadrangles ; but the 
eye ranges upward unconfined, carried lightly 
by a crowd of lines, all tending skyward, which 
tendency, finding itself in the bulk of the building 


arrested by the limitations of human reach, and 
still unwilling to be balked, improvises, so to speak, 
the spire, wherewith it speeds on with disencum- 
bered impulse until its point is lost in the blue 
above. Then, the eye redescending, cast it upon 
that file of pointed windows, deep and lofty, and 
upon that gigantic one, sun-shaped, a colossal front 
door-way for the sun, and beneath this, vast portals 
with festooned mouldings fringed with sculpture, 
through their deep narrowing recession inviting us 
inward. But before yielding to the invitation let 
us walk round the huge structure, light upshooting 
turrets and crocketed pinnacles and fantastic gar- 
goyles and chiselled humanities, making the walk a 
continuous discovery, fresh aspects sprung upon us, 
shadows furrowing the ribbed surface, and the sun- 
rays playing through the tapering stories of the 
spire as though the transparence w T ere a delight to 
them. We have passed through the door, and — 
when the first feeling of almost awe at the dim 
illuminated grandeur has somewhat subsided as ad- 
vancing between stupendous winged colonnades of 
compound piers, wonders and beauties throng upon 
us — we perceive, that while to the eye and the 
mind the outside is the all in all of a Grecian Tem- 
ple, in the Gothic Cathedral it is but the shell to 
the vast, variegated, living interior, — a canopy 
elaborate, ornate, radiant with symmetry, imposing 
with grandeur, but still in all its majestic pomp 


secondary, a magnificent means for bringing about 
and empowering a deeper interior radiance and 
beauty and grandeur. " It is a house of garnered 
light, where rich, soft, iris-lustre is only a revela- 
tion to us of a glory before inherent in the common 
day, though invisible." 1 And as you silently 
move along its floor under the solemnizing spell 
of a religious majesty, the eye is acted on as is the 
ear when listening to a symphony of Beethoven, 
with its far glimpses, its boundless perspective of 
sound. While you are fascinated by figures in the 
foreground, appear behind them, successively issu- 
ing out of unfathomable recesses, stately shapes, 
harmoniously mingled to the sense though apa,rt 
and contrasted. 

The mastering charm of one of these vast, beau- 
tiful, mystically effulgent Cathedrals, (a charm un- 
shared by the most perfect Grecian Temple,) is, 
that with its mazy heights, its distant lightly-poised 
roof, its lengthening shadowy reaches, vertical and 
horizontal, its mystic light, which has a dimness 

1 Art, Scenery, and Philosophy in Europe, by Horace Binney Wal- 

The personal grief for the premature death of a gifted man is 
not necessarily deeper or longer than that for one unendowed for 
shedding light beyond a private circle ; but scholars and thinkers 
will long grieve for themselves and for the public, that the author 
of the profound and beautiful thoughts and pictures contained in 
this fragmentary volume was lost so early to the world, to which 
the matured fruit of his pure and lofty genius would hardly have 
tailed to be a governing light, an enjoyment deep and enduring. 


even when most georgeous, it draws you towards 
the unknown. It symbolizes the infinite ; it tempts 
you almost to measure with the eye the immeas- 
urable ; it seems about to reveal a glimpse of the 
unknowable ; there is an awe, as though you stood 
on the verge of the sacred inmost circle where 
throbs the soul of things. With a startling vivid- 
ness the spirit enjoys one of its high prerogatives ; 
for to live ever consciously amid the unknown is 
a sublime privilege of man. Overarching him 
with incessant resistless attraction, the unknown 
becomes as integral a part of his life as his most 
familiar knowledge, his most transparent convic- 
tions. Working on him with expansive potency, 
stronger even than his experience, than the accu- 
mulations of what he knows, the unknown is his 
highest educator. His mind being boundless, is 
drawn into fructifying affinity with the Infinite, 
which calls forth the grandeurs of his being, as 
the darkness of night does the unspeakable glories 
of the sky. 

This profound, mysterious, sublime element in our 
consciousness being, like all within or without us, 
beneficent in its purpose, is designed to be ultimately 
healthful in its action on the higher human life. 
But in undeveloped humanity the vague feelings it 
occasions are akin to those that come upon children 
in the dark, — feelings of fear and terror, whereof 
advantage has ever been taken, and continues to 


be taken, by the craft of self-worshipping priest- 
hoods, to perpetuate the childhood of peoples and 
to keep men liable to outside power, delaying in 
them the age of manly maturity and individual 
moral self-dependence, — the age which must be 
attained ere men can possess full personal recti- 

Doing the light but not unremunerative work 
of leisurely travellers, we spent over a fortnight at 
Dresden. Before quitting it I was to have another 
sight of the King. 

At Moritzburg, seven or eight miles from Dres- 
den, is a royal hunting-lodge, built in wilder times, 
and still resorted to for the princely pastime, the 
Kino; betaking him thither for hunting the wild 
boar. Like spectatorship at the royal table, but 
not quite so accessible, this regal sport is hospi- 
tably opened to strangers. I sent a horse out the 
evening before, and the next morning drove to 
Moritzburg to breakfast. My brain became the 
ground for all kinds of huntsman's adventures. 
Boar-hunting might be dangerous : I was provided 
with a stout sword. I congratulated myself upon 
the so rare chance. Here, far away in the interior 
of Germany, a boar was to be hunted in a forest, 
and I was to be one of a royal party to the sport. 

After breakfast I took a seat on the somewhat 
raised piazza of the inn. Just below me, in the 
open air, on a small table, was a breakfast, to 


which in a few moments sat down two young men. 
Their talk being loud enough to be heard much fur- 
ther than the piazza, I was obliged to overhear them, 
and to learn that they were Frenchmen, — the 
one attache to the French Legation in Dresden, 
the other a student at Heidelberg. My thoughts 
being preengaged, their lively talk — which was 
of themselves and other Frenchmen — was not to 
me so enlivening but that I longed for the hour to 
start. It came at last. Mounting, I rode a hun- 
dred yards or more along a high stone wall, some- 
what beyond the corner of which I came upon the 
royal party, consisting of the King and his brother 
Anthony, with several of the household. They 
were just moving as I came up, in time to make 
the rear rider. 

We soon entered a pine wood, and proceeding 
in silence, still keeping to the road at a moderate 
trot, we heard every now and then from a valley 
to the left the inspiriting cry of the dogs. Soon 
voices and steps came up behind me, and looking 
round I recognized the Frenchmen. The two talked 
so loud as to turn tow r ard them the heads of several 
of the royal party ; and dreading that I might be 
taken for a third, I separated myself from them as 
much as I could, riding to the side of the hind- 
most of the King's attendants, who seemed to be 
half groom half gentleman, but was probably 
wholly groom ; for addressing him in German and 


putting on a deaf look as to the conversation be- 
hind us, in order that he might see that I was not 
of the French party, I got only a monosyllable in 
answer ; and perceiving that he appeared as anxious 
to keep me behind him as I was to keep the French- 
men behind me, I fell back — thinking to myself 
how I would dash ahead of him in the thick of the 
hunt — when a rattling volley of French drove 
me forward again. Presently a yell as of a hun- 
dred hounds swept up from the valley. The party 
quickened its speed. " Ah ! " said I to the Ger- 
man, " the hunt, I suppose, is going to begin." — 
" Begin! It's ended, I believe." — " Ended ! " 
— " Yes," said he with evident satisfaction, after 
listening for a moment, " they have caught the 
boar." — " Caught the boar ! Who have caught 
the boar?" — "The huntsmen." The party 
turned to the left through another road in the 
direction whence came the cry of the hounds. 
We had now got into a gallop. Suddenly we 
halted. One of the attendants rode forward and 
soon returned. Upon this the King dismounted 
under the shade of some tall trees. We all fol- 
lowed his example. One of the Frenchmen was 
describing to the other a boar-hunt he had wit- 
nessed in France, (probably in a dream while asleep 
in a quatrieme of the rue Rivoli,) and in so loud 
a tone that even the old King looked round. I 
drew off from them, fearing again that I should 


be implicated in their discourtesy. Presently I 
descried the boar, bleeding and exhausted, dragged 
along on his back by four men. They dragged 
him before the King. One of the attendants pre- 
sented to his Majesty a drawn hunting-sword, and 
the King stepped up to the prostrate victim and 
pierced his heart. Drawing out the sword, he 
gave it back to the attendant, mounted his horse, 
and we, doing the same, trotted back behind him 
to Moritzburg. The wood through which we 
passed was intersected by smooth roads. The wall 
I had gone round on starting from the inn, was 
part of an inclosure in which are kept wild boars 
taken young in the forest. When the King wishes 
to have a hunt, a full-grown animal is caught in 
the pen, his tusks are sawed off, and he is then let 

In less than an hour w^e were back to the pen. 
I had gone out to hunt the wild boar in company 
with a King : I had witnessed a most unkingly 

Two other feats which I performed, through 
royal and imperial assistance, were more success- 
ful, I having put on my head the hat of Peter the 
Great, and sat in the saddle of Napoleon, both of 
which are preserved in a collection of old arms 
and other curiosities. Nor should I fail to record, 
that one evening at the theatre I heard the Frey- 
Bchutz, Weber himself leading the orchestra. 


On the sixth of October, early in the morning, 
•we left Dresden for Hertzberg, whence we started 
still earlier the next day, in order to reach Pots- 
dam without borrowing more than an hour or two 
from the night. For the greater part of these two 
days our road lay through a sandy level covered 
with pines. 

The sights of Potsdam are architectural, palace 
upon palace, the attestors at once of kingly pride 
and kingly littleness, and, I might add, of kingly 
presumption, — the builders, with an ambition as 
profane as futile, seeking, it would almost seem, to 
identify their coarse material handiwork with God's 
everlasting creation, by cumbering one of his 
warm, open-doored, bountiful palaces, the Earth, 
with their locked, luxurious, cold, petty, perishable 
and, for the most part, unsightly abodes, in their 
regal blindness not having the vision to perceive 
that man, whether king or subject, can only co- 
work enduringly with God through spiritual per- 
formance. Lord Bacon, to be sure, says, " build- 
ings and foundations and monuments " are efforts 
toward that " whereunto man's nature doth most 
aspire, which is immortality or continuance." But 
then he adds, " the monuments of wit and learning 
are more durable than monuments of power or of 
hands. For have not the verses of Homer con- 
tinued twenty-five hundred years, or more, with- 
out the loss of a syllable, or letter, during which 


time infinite palaces, temples, castles, cities have 
been decayed and demolished." 

Frederick, called in English the Great, and in 
German the Unique or Only (der einzige), had an 
instinct to the same effect, for he attempted to 
write. poems; and a printed quarto of these at- 
tempts is shown in one of his palaces, marked by 
the hand of Voltaire with numerous manuscript 
corrections, which are the attractive feature of the 
volume. To an intellectual sovereign, like Fred- 
erick, the more obvious path were through genuine, 
broad, home-looking statesmanship. I say more 
obvious, and not more easy ; for it may be, that 
far-reaching, comprehensive, Christian, political in- 
sight is as rare as is poetical. 

To call regal the blindness that misleads to 
superfluous masonry is unjust. It is human, and 
kings merely have in tempting profusion the ma- 
terial means to indulge the material desire. It is 
a blindness which comes of the self-will that insists 
on looking with the half — and with the lower 
half — of our mental optics. We persist in seeing 
but sensuously. Superfluous or superfine house- 
room or raiment or nurture, is like superabundant 
fat. Besides being cumbersome it is a sign of 
disease, and induces untimely death. Bodily needs 
and appetites are but the wheels that bear and 
carry forward the vehicle. Make them the vehicle, 
and you can carry only yourself, and that joltingly. 


Self-seekers never find what they look for. The 
more they seek the less they find themselves ; for 
such seeking is dog-like, with the nose to the 
ground, while the self, even in the sordid, is ever 
escaping upward, if not in acts or resolves, at least 
in repinings and longings. 

I was in luck with inmates of palaces, having 
beheld at one deliberate sight five high royal per- 
sonages, one a King in possession, and two of them 
Kings in prospective. Taking our stand (having 
attended the Catholic church at eight) a little 
after nine on Sunday morning the 10th of Octo- 
ber, 1824, near the entrance to the church where 
the royal family go to worship, we had all to our- 
selves the regal party, consisting of the King of 
Prussia (he who was so smitten by Napoleon) ; the 
Crown-Prince, his eldest son ; the Grand-Duke 
Nicholas of Russia, his son-in-law, with his Duch- 
ess, eldest daughter of the King; and the Princess 
Louisa, his youngest. The King was a tall, stout, 
awkward man, with a kindly expression. His son, 
the Crown-Prince, (elder brother of the present 
King,) was short and stout, his pug face of a pink 
hue, which in the latter years of his reign, through 
unremitted juicy nourishment, ripened to purple. 
The Grand-Duke Nicholas, who by his courage and 
energy made himself in the following year Em- 
peror of Russia, was a noble body of a man, six 
feet two or three inches high, an imposing figure 


in carriage and countenance. He was one of those 
men whose will so energizes the faculties as to hang 
over them a reputation for intellectual superior- 
ity, a reputation which time is obliged to take 
down. Nicholas, with all the prestige of power 
still about him, judged while living by his latter 
contemporaries, was sentenced to be wanting as 
ruler in wise judgment. His Grand-Duchess was 
a fine-looking woman, worthy to walk beside such 
a figure. Her sister, the Princess Louisa, had a 
lively but not handsome face, and, although only 
seventeen, an oldish look. The young democrat 
noted that these royal personages moved their legs 
and arms just as other men do, and that they were 
even dressed like the well-clad crowd of ordinary 

By half-past ten we were off from Potsdam, and 
reached Berlin in good time for the table d'hote of 
the Hotel de Rome at two. 

My uncle, as a proficient traveller, lost no hours ; 
and so by four we had sallied into the Broadway 
of Berlin, the wide shaded avenue called Unter 
den Linden. The Diary notes "crowd of walk- 
ers : indifferent-looking population, and impossible 
to distinguish classes." We walked out through 
the Brandenburg gate into the Park, but were 
back in time to find ourselves seated at half-past 
five in the gilded, spacious Opera-hall to hear 
and see " The Vestal " by Spontini, the author 


himself leading the orchestra. Several boxes 
shone above their neighbors with the beauty of 
women ; these, we found, were occupied by the 
families of Polish nobles. And so ended the Sun- 
day, a variously busy day, begun with a church- 
service, and concluded, after the continental fash- 
ion, with the opera. 

Historians should be optimists ; the past should 
be accepted as good. Were one to say : for Ger- 
many, for Europe, it was a misfortune that Fred- 
erick (called the Great) inherited from his father 
a well-appointed army and full coffers, seeing that 
this inheritance tempted a capable, ambitious young 
King into the monstrous wrong of seizing Silesia, 
w 7 hich seizure was the first act in a bloody drama 
of wars ; such comment were a presumptuous cen- 
suring of Providence. And what work does the 
critic hereby lay on himself? Nothing less than 
the recasting of history ! He might, in his impo- 
tent contumaciousness, carry sympathy with Brutus 
so far as to deplore the battle of Philippi, thus seek- 
ing to wrest from the Supreme guidance the pro- 
cession of Roman events. And what will he do 
with them ! He might go on to wish the Saracens 
victorious at Tours, or the action of Pontius Pilate 
stayed. Whoever should so misplace himself has 
no vocation to be an interpreter to his fellows, nor 
can he even draw due personal profit from the 
lessons recorded in the pages of the past. He but 


spins round on the pivot of a perverse wilfulness, 
soon to grow dizzy with the aimless whirl. The 
rivers and the rivulets of history, flowing from 
fountains and led by hands that lie utterly beyond 
human vision, even sudden, apparently irrelevant 
incidents, that to us look the play of very chance, 
may be the firm-set hooks whereon are hung long 

What we have to do with is Frederick as a 
fact ; and the closer our judgment on him fits the 
actual man as God made him, the nearer we shall 
come to his historical import, and that of the many 
facts of which he was the centre. Beware of 
wishing him other than he was; for thus we en- 
tangle ourselves in a task fearfully above our 
strength. In the divine elaboration of European 
fates in the eighteenth century, had a human ele- 
ment like Alfred the Great been needed as succes- 
sor to Frederick the flat-headed, an Alfred Prussia 
would have had instead of "Fritz" the Unique. 
Him we must submissively and even thankfully 
take as we find him. To find him just where he 
was we must look with clear eyes, eyes at once 
keen and visionary ; and so looking, there will be 
no irreverent presumption, no barren wilfulness 
in detecting in the composition of Fritz an un- 
wonted lack of the spiritual element. Mechanical 
and military was his mind, and his beliefs were 
material. Through the means of his rare mili- 


tary genius, his indomitable courage and will, he 
strengthened, we might say he furnished, the bones 
and muscles of a Kingdom, on his foundation built 
up to be among the primary Powers in Europe, 
with a progressive population, among whom the 
intellectual and spiritual make scope for their own 
culture, and w T ho can now, from a high national 
German plane, forgive their pet King that he held 
their great-grandfathers hard in hand, that he 
could not recognize the broad German mother- 
tongue as a mighty instrument of Teutonic devel- 
opment, and scarcely knew that behind his body 
and his mind were spiritual potencies more precious 
than aught else in man, and so high, mighty, resist- 
less and necessary, that they were regnant even 
over his unacknowledging self. 

A wish to rc-make history were shallow impiety ; 
but we can make it. In the past we may not 
mingle, except as learners ; but the present and 
future are a domain of which we can take partial 
possession, therein to work vigorously and potently 
to the moulding and coloring of events. Not in 
utter blindness, but with some selection of our 
point of embouchure, we flow as tributaries into 
the great channels of associated life. All living 
men are in a general sense makers of history, if 
they belong to a race deep enough to have a his- 
tory ; but there is a conscious premeditated action 
and influence which tell upon the inner currents 


that permeate a people, and this action and influ- 
ence are strong and healthful according to the 
freedom and clear-sightedness of the predominant 
minds, and to the susceptibility of the masses to be 
the recipients and absorbents of the thought of the 
freer and wiser. For ourselves, whose democratic 
polity presupposes, for enduring success and pro- 
gress, a larger and purer susceptibility of this 
kind than has ever yet existed, it behooves us 
thoughtfully to consider the political tendencies 
and prospects of our country, when we allow so 
many men who have reached no high stage of 
freedom to push themselves into high places. 

The freedom here meant is moral freedom ; and 
moral freedom depends on, consists in, active con- 
formity to law. Law being as universal and ben- 
eficent as it is inexorable, pervades every thing, 
prevails everywhere. To go counter to law, is to 
shut out the sun that the eyes may do their func- 
tion unsustained by his light, — which is, to put 
vision into bonds. To co-act with law, is to sub- 
ordinate our thought and action to the invisible 
powers that work ceaselessly within and without 
us, — which is, to be so far free. He who should 
be in harmony with law always, in all provinces of 
life, bodily, mentally, morally, spiritually, would 
enjoy entire, absolute freedom. The crude, the 
immoral, the animal, the self-seeking, wear chains 
that circumscribe and obstruct them. The roving 


savage is as far from freedom as the coarse inebri- 
ate, or the refined epicurian of civilized Christen- 
dom ; while Socrates and Washington enjoy so 
pure and wide a liberty as to be overflowing recip- 
ients and blessed dispensers of the divine illumi- 

Berlin has none of the natural furtherances 
which a great city needs for a queenly preeminence 
and full prosperity. It has neither hills beneath 
and about it, nor a flowing river with depth and 
expanse of water, nor fertile fields around for the 
daily freshening of its markets. None of these 
has the Prussian metropolis, which lies in a barren, 
sandy plain, on a sluggish, petty stream. And 
yet it is now one of the foremost cities in Europe, 
having a population of more than half a million. 
The capital of a large kingdom, when once it gets 
to count from sixty to a hundred thousand souls, 
grows rapidly by the momentum given it by wide 
metropolitan privileges. Sovereign will first made 
Berlin a capital, and then regal wilfulness made 
it a capacious town. The arbitrary, indomitable 
Fritz, finding it too circumscribed for his ambition, 
enclosed a large outside area, and ordered his sub- 
jects to cover the enclosure with houses. 

The gregariousness of the animal man, being a 
necessary antecedence to the earthly and super- 
earthly progress of the immortal creature, he 
gathers himself into pens called cities, that he may 


the more readily be fed and shorn. To shape him 
into his proper proportions man needs to be com- 
pressed by men. Through the cooperative neigh- 
borhood, nay, the lively hostility of those he 
respects, his mind acquires symmetry and elastic- 
ity and compactness. For development of the 
multifold human faculties, collision and competition 
are indispensable. We rust unless we have others 
on whom, as Montaigne says, " to rub and file our 
brain," pour frotter et timer notre cervelle eontre 
celle d'aultnd. 

But dirt and disease come of this penning. The 
crowding together of heated multitudes engenders 
and aggravates vice. These close masses ferment. 
Not yet understood are the laws of association, 
whereby the grosser passional elements will be 
turned to clean productive forces, and hot humors 
that chafe and fester will have healthy outlets, and 
the warmest, strongest, most impulsive motions — 
motions that are now so often tyrannous, cruel, 
subversive — become creative, and the stronger for 
their loyalty, and be as chaste and salutary as solar 
influences on the planets. 

Berlin, although six times the size of Dresden, 
has for the aesthetic traveller fewer attractions. In 
our nine days' tarry no good picture, or statue, or 
monument did we leave unenjoyed. We roamed 
the palaces, and sat in the theatres, and — what 
gave us unusual satisfaction, it being the first time 


that any of our party had visited such an institu- 
tion — we spent a morning among the deaf and 
dumb, astonished and delighted at the success 
wherewith, in the education of their faculties, the 
humane and persevering ingenuity of art had been 
able to get round the irremovable obstructions of 
nature. The average number of the deaf and 
dumb in Germany, the principal informed us, is 
tw T o to every ten thousand inhabitants, the propor- 
tion being greater in the north than in the south. 

As the lecture-rooms of Goettingen reopened 
on Monday the 25th of October, we turned our 
backs upon Berlin on the nineteenth, and, repass- 
ing through Potsdam, — stonioing onlv to eat a 
good dinner at "The Hermit," — arrived at ten at 
Wittenberg, to find the best hotel filled by the 
Duke of Cumberland and his suite. On issuing 
out of our inn the next morning before breakfast 
to glance round the old town, there, right before 
my uncle and me, in front, I think, of the very 
church on whose door Luther had affixed his mo- 
mentous propositions, was a bronze statue of him. 
To my uncle it was not permitted to know Luther. 
He regarded him with that stolid, insatiable, Rom- 
ish aversion, whose unutterability is deepened by 
the fear that mingles with the hate. If at any 
time the mighty shadow of the Giant crossed the 
disk of his sensations, it was only to be thrust an- 
grily down into the nameless pit, to be there the 


compeer of Lucifer, chewing forever, beside that 
prime rebel, the bitter cud of bootless remorse for 
an impious revolt. But my uncle being preem- 
inently an aesthetic traveller, caring little for his- 
tory, or geology, or ethnography, or statistics, 
could look with critical calmness, with judicial im- 
partiality, upon a statue even of the apostate 
Augustinian monk ; and so looking, he pronounced 
it good. I did not seek to tread the learned halls 
that had been trodden by Hamlet. The search 
would have been vain, for a few years previously 
into that of Halle had been merged the renowned 
University, which has a passport to immortality 
signed by Shakespeare. 

On leaving Wittemberg we diverged from the 
regular route to Brunswick, in order to make our 
night's resting place at Koethen, where lived Hah- 
nemann, whom my uncle wished to consult, and 
who just about that time had attained a European 
reputation. The eminent founder of Homoeopathy 
happened to be absent, and to make up for lost 
way, we had to travel eighteen German miles, 
(about ninety English,) through Anhalt-Bernberg, 
Halberstadt, and Wolfenbuettel ; so that, although 
we left Koethen at six on Thursday morning, it 
was three in the night when we entered Bruns- 
wick. Here w T e rested on Friday, and after another 
long day's pull got back to Goettingen on Saturday 
evening the 23d of October, 1824. 


My next vacation was at Christmas, — a short 
one of two weeks, in which I made a trip to Han- 
over with Professor Saalfeld. Where and how 
was spent the long spring-vacation of 1825 may 
be read in the next chapter. 



7~)ER Herr scheint unglucldich zu seyn : u the 
gentleman seems to be unhappy ; " — said, 
in an audible whisper to her male companion in the 
public room of the Erbprinz in Weimar, a stout 
comely woman of five and thirty. Women are so 
charged with sympathy. In a tone half pleasant, 
half pitying she spoke, and made, I think, her 
words purposely audible to him who was the ob- 
ject of them ; judging, perhaps, that knowledge of 
the proximity of interest would be a comfort. She 
judged rightly ; for it was sheer loneliness that, 
from the bosom of a young man seated on the sofa, 
had brought up the sigh which awakened her curi- 
osity and her good feeling. 

Just a week previously, I had set out from Goet- 
tingen, in company with a Scotch fellow-student, 
Weir. My intelligent friend parted from me in 
Gotha, on .a foot-excursion ; and I, after spending 
two or three days at Gotha, in that state of half 
ennui, half restlessness, familiar to young men 
idling without acquaintance in a strange place, had, 
early on the morning of Sunday, the 27th of March, 


1825, started alone, in a hired carriage, and, halt- 
ing midway at Erfurt, to visit Luther's cell in the 
convent of the Augustines, had arrived at Weimar 
about noon ; my purpose being to stop there a day 
or two, see Goethe if I could, and then go on to 
Leipsic and Dresden. 

The feeling of loneliness which came over me 
on losing my companion, grew daily while I con- 
tinued at Gotha, had been cultivated in the solitary 
drive of six hours, and now, in noiseless, secluded 
Weimar, with no social prospects to dispel its 
gloom, it reached a crisis in the sigh above-men- 
tioned. The relief brought by this exhalation of 
heart-griping melancholy, seconded by the womanly 
comment thereon, was completed by the tickling fin- 
gers of the ridiculous, which, simultaneously with 
the arrival to my ears of the lady's words, were 
mirthfully thrust into my ribs. 

To the fat lady I was grateful for her kindly 
succor ; and, as a return, I determined to give her 
tender heart the solace of knowing that my " un- 
happiness " was not of a Wertherian hue. At the 
same time I wished to spare her delicacy the em- 
barrassment of learning, from any too palpable act 
or movement, that I had overheard her remark. 
In a few moments, therefore, rising from my hypo- 
chondriacal position — viz., bent forward with el- 
bows on knees, and face buried in hands — I dis- 
charged from my countenance all trace of dismal 


thoughts, and, walking springily across the room, 
smiled out of the window ; so that her benignant 
eye could in a twinkle perceive that in my features 
there was no suicide. 

After dinner (which at the public table of the 
JErbprinz was served at half-past one) learning 
that Goethe dined at two, I waited till a quarter 
past three, and then walked to his house in the 
Frauenplatz, (women's-place) not two hundred 
yards from the hotel. I had no letter, and know- 
ing that Goethe refused to admit unlabelled vis- 
itors, I rang the bell with misgivings. The servant 
said, the llerr Gelwimerath (the Privy Councilor) 
had not yet risen from table. " There," cried I 
vexedly to myself as I turned away, " by my 
impatience I have forfeited the at best doubtful 
chance of seeing the great man. The summons 
of his waiter from the dining-room to the door, 
he will feel as an intrusion on his privacy and 
comfort, and be thereby jarred into an inhospitable 
mood." I walked into the park, enlivened on a 
sunny Sunday afternoon with Weimar's quiet den- 
izens. Towards four I was again ringing Goethe's 
bell. The servant asked my name. I gave him 
my card on which I had written, " aus Washing- 
ton, America." My home being near the capi- 
tal, of this I availed myself to couple my name 
with that of the sublime man — honored by all 
the hundred millions in Christendom — the pre- 


senting of which to the imagination of a great 
poet might, I hoped, kindle an emotion that would 
plead irresistibly in my behalf. The servant 
quickly returned and ushered me in. I ascended 
the celebrated wide, easy, Italian staircase. On 
the threshold I was about to pass, my eye fell 
pleasantly on the hospitable salve, inlaid in large 
mosaic letters. The door was opened before me 
by the servant, and there, in the centre of the 
room, tall, large, erect, majestic, Goethe stood, 
slightly borne forward by the intentness of his 
look, out of those large luminous eyes, fixed on the 

In 1825, Americans w T ere seldom seen so far in- 
land. In his whole life Goethe had not probably 
met with six. The announcement of one for the 
unbusied moments of after-dinner, was I dare say, 
to the ever-fresh student and universal observer, a 
piquant novelty. His attitude and expression, as 
I entered, were those of an expectant naturalist, 
eagerly awaiting the transatlantic phenomenon. 

Goethe was then in his seventy-sixth year ; 
but neither on his face nor figure was there any 
detracting mark of age. Kindly and gracefully 
he received me ; advancing as I entered, he bade 
me be seated on the sofa, and sat down beside me. 
In a few moments I was perfectly at ease. 

At such an interview the opening conversation 
is inevitably predetermined. How long I had been 

WEIMAR. 169 

in Europe ; the route by which I had come ; the 
sea-voyage. When he learned, that for fifteen 
months I had been a student at Goettingen, he in- 
quired with interest for several of the professors, 
especially Blumenbach and Sartorius. 

Opportunities of converse with the wise have 
ever been esteemed, by men eager for improve- 
ment, among the choice human privileges. Even 
now, when, through that far-reaching, silver-voiced 
speaking-trumpet — the printed page — the wise 
(and the unwise, too) can send their thoughts to 
the uttermost ends of the earth, personal contact 
with the gifted is still a gain and a rare enjoy- 
ment ; for the most confidential writer cannot put 
all of himself into his books. In ancient times, 
when oral delivery was well-nigh the only means 
of communicating knowledge, men traversed seas 
to hold communion with philosophers and thinkers. 
What a position was mine then at that moment — 
seated beside one wiser than the wisest of the seven 
sages of Greece, in whose single head was more 
knowledge than in the heads of all the seven to- 
gether ; the wisest man then living, — nay, save 
two or three, the wisest that ever has lived. 
Across the Atlantic, through England and Bel- 
gium, over the Rhine (railroads and ocean-steam- 
ships were not in those days) I had come to be 
taught by the wise men of Goettingen. And here 
sat I, face to face with the teacher of these Goet- 


tingen teachers, with him from whom every one 
of them had learned, and from whom the best of 
them were still learning. Yet, in this interview 
with the chief of teachers, the wisest of the wise — 
an interview which hundreds of the highest men 
of to-day would almost give a finger to have had 
— in this privileged t£te-d-tete, it was not Goethe 
who taught me, it was I who taught Goethe. 

Reader, I take no offence at your contemptuous 
incredulity, but will briefly tell you how it was. 

The news of the election of John Quincy Ad- 
ams to be President of the United States had 
just reached Germany. Three days before, I had 
read it, while at Gotha, in a Frankfort newspaper. 
Goethe wished to understand the mode and forms 
of election. This I explained to him in full : the 
first process through electors, and then, as in this 
instance, the second by the House of Representa- 
tives. In stating that the people did not directly 
choose, but voted for a small number of electors, 
and that these then voted for one of the candidates, 
I used the word gereinigt (cleansed) to describe 
how the popular will, to reach its aim, was sifted 
through the electoral colleges. The term gereinigt 
pleased Goethe much. I used it because, being of 
one of the most federal of federal families, and not 
having yet begun to think for myself on political 
subjects, the breadth and grandeurs of democracy 
were still unrevealed to me ; and it pleased Goethe 

WEIMAR. 171 

because, broad and deep as was his sympathy with 
humanity, he was after all not omnisentient any 
more than omniscient. Thus had I the honor of 
adding a grain to the vast hoard of that omni- 
farious knowledge, which, passed through the bolt- 
ing-cloths of a rich sensibility and bold imagination, 
furnished in abundance to his generation, and to all 
after generations, mental bread most nourishing and 
most palatable. 

Thinking that a stranger, with not even the claim 
of an introductory note, should be content, after 
sharing with Goethe a brief fragment of his time, 
before a half hour had expired I rose and took my 

Back into the park I strolled, now no longer 
lonely : I was accompanied by the image of Goethe. 

Goethe's face w T as oval, with grand harmonious 
lines, and features large and prominent, hair cut 
short, and gray without baldness, forehead high 
and roomy, largely developed throughout, and 
swelling in the upper corners, so as to unite in a 
fine curve the conspicuous organs of wonder and 
ideality. The whole head and face less massive 
than in the full-sized Paris engraving, which I 
have, after a portrait by Jageman ; and also less 
broad than the engraving in Mrs. Austin's 
" Characteristics ; " having the lightness and air- 
iness which, in a countenance resplendent with 
mind, result from the harmony between the curve- 


inclosed breadth above and the strong basilar 

At a German inn, especially in a small town, a 
stranger has resources which he will not find else- 
where in a public house. From their subdivisions, 
the Germans are a many-sided people. The Silesian 
and the Rhinelander, the Hanoverian and the Ba- 
varian, the Viennese and the Berlinese — each of 
these is a different variety of the same species, the 
difference being perceptible in language, tone, eul- 
ture. In Germany there is more culture than in any 
other country. Her high-schools, her universities, 
her libraries, are the best in the world, the most 
numerous and the most accessible. Nowhere is 
knowledge more valued ; nowhere are there so many 
men with empty pockets and full heads ; and no- 
where has mere money less social weight. The 
German is, moreover, sociable ; enjoying especially 
an after-meal talk. He excels, too, I think, in the 
rarest conversational talent — that of being a good 

From these causes, the company that at about 
eight (the supper hour) gathers in the public room, 
will be more various, more communicative, and 
more cultivated than at a similar meeting in France, 
England, or America. Our little party at the 
Erbprinz on Sunday evening, was a favorable 
specimen of such assemblages, and was as compan- 
ionable as though we had been the assorted guests 

WEIMAR, 173 

of a discriminating Amphytrion. Our chief talker 
was a young Lutheran ecclesiastic, who, voluble 
and well-informed, was carried forward by an 
inordinate momentum of animal spirits. Discuss- 
ing the dress of the Protestant clergy, he averred 
that the cause of its being black was, that Luther 
happened to wear black. Thaler (dollar), he said, 
was derived from Thai (valley), the German silver 
coin of that denomination having been first made 
from metal mined in a valley of Bohemia. These 
samples of his learning I throw out as light exer- 
cises for antiquarians. Another of our company 
was an inspector of baths at Marienbad, who was 
modestly proud of some autograph verses given 
him by Goethe. 

On Monday morning I awoke with such pleasant 
recollections of the preceding afternoon and even- 
ing, that I resolved to stop a day or two in Weimar 
— at least until time should begin to press idly 
upon me. Just before leaving Goettingen, I had 
received from a Boston friend and Harvard class- 
mate a late number of the " North American Re- 
view," containing an article on Goethe's works. 
This I inclosed to Goethe with a note saying, that 
I took the liberty to send it, thinking that he might 
like to read what was written about him in the 
New World. The day I spent actively enough as 
sight-seer, seeing, among other things, the first 
printed Bible. Recollect that Weimar is Saxe- 


Weimar, lying near to Erfurt ; and that Eisenach, 
with Luther's watch-tower, the Wartburg, is part 
of its domain. Nowhere in Germany is the spirit 
of the mighty reformer more alive than among his 
Saxon kindred, the foremost in culture of the most 
cultivated people of Europe. It was fitting that 
to this central land should be drawn — as it was 
by the enlightened sympathy of a Saxon Prin.ce — 
that mind which shares with Luther the intellectual 
sovereignty of Germany ; and which, so unlike 
Luther's in its preponderances and in its ensemble, 
thoroughly harmonized with his in one deep char- 
acteristic ; for Goethe was not behind even Luther 
in manly hatred of falsification and spiritual im- 

Weimar, though a capital, being a small town, 
its sights were soon seen, and in the evening I was 
making inquiries about the routes to Leipsic, when 
there came a package from Goethe, containing the 
" Review " accompanied by a note of thanks, which 
stated that he had a few hours before received a 
copy of the same number from a friend in Berlin. 
But the pith of the note was in the end of it — an 
invitation to Goethe's house on the following even- 

Weimar being, as I said, a small town, and 
Goethe's house, even more than the palace, being 
its social centre, twenty-four hours were not needed 
to circulate through "society" the novel incident, 

WEIMAR. 175 

that a young stranger, from far America, without 
letters, had, after an interview with Goethe, been 
invited to acquaintanceship with his family and 
circle. Of the mingled good-will and curiosity 
awakened by this distinction, I had evidence the 
next day. Early in the forenoon, Baron Seckin- 
dorf of Wurtemberg, a fellow-student of Goettin- 
gen, whom, however, I had not known at the 
University, a modest, pleasing young man, called 
on me. He was spending his vacation with a 
cousin, the chamberlain of the Grand-Duke. We 
took a chatty walk together into the country. This 
visit was followed, after dinner, by one from three 
young Englishmen, acquaintances of Goethe's 
daughter-in-law, Frau von Goethe. At this time, 
and for several years afterwards (it may be so still), 
there were always young Englishmen temporarily 
resident in Weimar to learn German and mingle 
in the refined, easy society of the famous little 
capital, in which they were well received. By a 
progressive appointment of nature, strangers are 
ever warmly welcomed by women. For which, on 
the other hand, they are coldly eyed by the men. 

Toward eight I repaired to Goethe's. In the 
large drawing-room, where he had received me on 
Sunday, were collected twelve or fifteen persons. 
But Goethe was not among them : he was unwell. 
Neither was his son present. Frau von Goethe, 
sprightly, intelligent, and graceful, did the honora 


with tact and cordiality. In five minutes I felt 
myself at home. Before the close of the evening 
it was determined that I should go to court — my 
new English friends taking on themselves to pre- 
pare me for the initiation. On the Continent, 
young Americans and young Englishmen readily 

My chief business, on the following morning, 
was to engage a waltzing-master. In the United 
States, during the first two decades of the present 
century, waltzing was not an essential of a gentle- 
man's education. I had hardly been three days 
in Weimar when I found myself launched into the 
midst of its social stream. My brief journal — 
alas ! too brief — sparkles with entries like these : 
"Wednesday: evening, at President Schwendler's ; 
games. — Thursday : evening, at Frau von Spie- 
gel's. — Friday : concert in the evening ; Mozart's 
Requiem." But the great day was drawing near 
— the day of presentation at court. 

In 1825 a European court held, in the imagi- 
nation of a young American, a place beside images 
left there by the " Arabian Nights." It was a 
something gorgeous, glittering, remote, unapproach- 
able ; invested by history and poetry, and especially 
by romance, with elevation, splendor, and dignity. 
Kings, queens, dukes, lords, and ladies, were ideal, 
almost supermundane figures robed in Tyrian tis- 
sues ; personages disinfected of all work-day com- 

WEIMAR. 177 

monness, impressive with practiced superiorities, 
their words commands, their looks glaring author- 
ity, their habits ever stately, their thoughts ever 
proud. The palace walls, shielded by a circum- 
vallation of haughty ceremony, inclosed a precinct 
consecrated to jealous privilege. Into this charmed 
circle I was to enter. I was about to be an actor in 
an " Arabian Nights' Entertainment." I was about 
to read a chapter of history, in the first manuscript. 

The awe which I felt on approaching such a 
crisis in my education, was somewhat allayed by 
daily social intercourse with the frequenters and 
constituents of the court. Especially did the talk 
of my English companions temper the effervescent 
spirit of imagination with the turbid water of 
reality. Still, it was not without trepidation that, 
at a quarter before three, on Sunday, April the 
3d, in the year 1825, I descended the steps of the 
Erbprinz to enter the sedan which was to bear me 
to the palace. But before hiding me behind the 
curtains of the sedan, I must exhibit myself to the 
reader in court-dress. 

Of the importance attached to costume at the 
courts of Europe, our whole country has lately 1 
become aware, through the recommendation (which 
should have been positive instruction) sent by our 
government in 1853 to its diplomatic representa- 
tives. Thus, close upon the heels of the resolution 

1 This was first printed in 1856. 


to go to court in Weimar, came the question 
of costume. A uniform of some kind, my Eng- 
lish friends told me, I must have, the etiquette 
requiring it. I might follow my own taste and 
fancy in the color and style. One of these gen- 
tlemen — a man of parts and a graduate of Ox- 
ford, who had not even an ensign's commission — 
w r ore always at court the full dress of an English 
field-marshal, for which he had paid in London one 
hundred guineas. This ambitious fancy, by the 
way, cost him, a few weeks later, a ludicrous mor- 
tification ; for the Duke of Clarence (afterwards 
William IV.) happening to visit the Weimar court, 
the young civilian, not wishing his field-marshal- 
ship to be challenged by so high a personage, 
withdrew for a week. Uniform I had none, and 
there was hardly time, had I even been so disposed, 
to have one first invented, and then made up by 
the tailor. The Englishmen cast about in vain to 
compound an outfit, by borrowing a coat from one, 
pantaloons from another, etc. ; but among them 
were few superfluous articles of the courtly kind. 
At last I suggested, that with sword, chapeau-bras, 
knee-breeches, and silk stockings, I might possibly 
be admitted. The chamberlain was applied to. 
He received the proposal favorably, and would 
consider it. The matter was doubtless submitted 
to the Grand-Duke and Duchess. It is not at all 
improbable that even Goethe was consulted ; for 

WEIMAR. 179 

in Weimar, on any thing great or small, that was 
worth a consultation, his opinion was sure to be 
sought. Be that as it may, the chamberlain gave 
a consenting answer. Instantly a tailor was set 
to work on the " inexpressibles." One English- 
man furnished a sword, another a chapeau; and 
so, with my black Stultz dress-coat, and a white 
vest, I was equipped. 

A sedan is a light chair covered at top, with 
curtains on the sides and front, borne on poles by 
two men. An acceptable vehicle it is, where a 
pair of muscular human arms can be hired at the 
rate of twenty-five cents a day, where distances 
are not measured by miles, and when you are in 
full dress with thin shoes. It takes you in and 
puts you out under cover of hall or entry. A 
single servant in livery received me at the foot of 
the grand ducal stairway, and conducted me up 
into one of the receiving rooms, where were 
already several of my new native acquaintance. 
The company gathered rapidly, and we soon passed 
into a larger room, where I was presented to the 
Grand-Duchess. The Grand-Duke was ill. The 
Grand-Duchess w T as affable, and spoke of her son, 
Duke Bernhardt, who was then travelling in the 
United States. The introduction and conversation 
were as unceremonious as they would have been in 
the drawing-room of a well-bred lady in Boston or 
Baltimore. It was in this palace, at the head of 


the stairs I had ascended, that this Grand-Duchess 
received Napoleon the day after the battle of Jena, 
and by her calm courage, womanly dignity, and 
intellectual readiness, rebuked his vulgar violence, 
and extorted an unwilling respect. Ignoble na- 
tures, feeling nobleness to be a reproach to them- 
selves, hate the true and pure, and, when unavoid- 
ably confronted with them, pay them a reluctant 

At three the Grand-Duchess led the way into 
the dining-room. About fifty persons sat down to 
a long table, the Grand-Duchess in the centre. 
Opposite and beside her were placed the elderly 
and officially elevated, while the younger members 
of the company mustered at the extremities, where, 
intermingled with the maids of honor, and remote 
from the stately regal centre, we were under no 
other restraint than that which refines the freedom 
of ladies and gentlemen. Behind each guest was 
a servant in livery. The dinner was princely. 
That it was, moreover, excellent, I have no doubt ; 
but this I cannot affirm from personal judgment ; 
for, happily, my critical craft in this significant 
province of civilized culture was only developed 
some years later. Of the service — at once lavish 
and refined — at the grand ducal table, take this 
as a sample. No sooner was a glass emptied than 
it was replenished by the watchful attendant. 
Through this silent savory sign your preference — 

WEIMAR. 181 

if you had one — was learnt, and hospitably in- 
dulged. You had, for instance, but to leave 
your Claret and Rhenish and Champagne unfin- 
ished, and to drain your Burgundy glass : so often 
as it was found empty it was refilled with Cham- 
bertin or Clos Vougeot, to the number of a dozen 
or more fillings, should any guest be rash enough to 
trust his head with so many. The dinner lasted 
till toward five, when the company followed the 
Duchess back into the receiving-rooms. Here we 
lingered less than a half hour, and then withdrew, 
to return at seven to tea, conversation, and cards. 
In the evening I left the palace early, having made 
an engagement to sup at eight with Ober-medicinal- 
rath (Upper medical Councillor) Froriep, a man 
of large knowledge and practical ability, and of 
distinguished liberality, and for these qualities much 
valued by the Grand-Duke. 

The stranger is in luck who, on the same day, 
passes from the table of a sovereign to that of a 
burgher-subject. In the present case there was 
this beauty in the juxtaposition of the two tables, 
that the contrast between them was purely in the 
material and external. In the high essentials they 
were equal and alike, culture and intellect giving 
the tone at both. The guests of Mr. Froriep were 
four or five gentlemen, who, w T ith his wife and daugh- 
ter, made a party of about eight round his supper- 
table. Mr. Froriep's house was a modest centre 


of political liberalism. My fellow-guests were 
latent republicans. An open, legal, born, bodily 
republican could not but be an acceptable novelty. 
I sat down among them, a sudden welcome incar- 
nation of their visions. The lively prose of con- 
versation was occasionally pointed by written 
epigrammatic verse. One gentleman read some 
well-rhymed irony on the turning-lathe that had 
been set up at St. Helena in the room where 
Napoleon died. Another gave us a witty epigram 
on orders and ribbon-decorations. 

On the following evening I had an opportunity 
of testing the obsequiousness of the bodily mem- 
bers to the mind's royalty, by straining to subject 
my femoral muscles to the desires of my cerebral 
nerves. There was a ball at Herr von Heldorf 's. 
Never did dancer stand up with a more resolute 
will to dance. I had misgivings. Four or five 
lessons are a short apprenticeship to a new busi- 
ness. To legs thoroughly indoctrinated in the pas 
de quatre, the pas de trois is as steep up-hill work 
as the Kantean metaphysics to a Cartesian. Yet, 
to an unpracticed looker-on, the waltz seems so 
easy ; and this deception through the eye is 
strengthened by the ear, which is captivated by 
the saltatory movement of the waltz-music. My 
utmost effort of will, the excitement of the scene 
and sound, and, more even than these, the indul- 
gence and encouragement of my fair (and some of 

WEIMAR. 183 

them were surpassingly fair) partners, could but 
partially and temporarily counterwork early thor- 
ough drilling and long habit. While my head and 
heart were intent on waltzing, my obstinate, un- 
dutiful legs would be thinking of the quadrille. 
I made lame work of it. Nevertheless, I staid 
until two o'clock, finding this the most instructive 
and the most delightful dancing-lesson I had ever 

To the circle of the privileged, the doors of the 
palace were opened twice a week. Let me explain 
what I mean by " the privileged." At that time 
no Germans but such as had titles of nobility were 
hoffdhig, that is, habitually admissible at the native 
courts. As much that they might adorn the court 
by their presence, as to do honor to their genius, 
were Goethe and Schiller ennobled. I never met 
at the palace one of the cultivated gentlemen with 
whom I had supped at Mr. Froriep's. Since that 
day, I believe, this feudal exclusiveness has been, 
in most capitals, extinguished or greatly relaxed, 
under pressure of the expansive spirit of these 
latter times. Once invited to the Sunday dinner 
at the palace, the invitation was repeated, as it 
was to other invited strangers, on every Sunday. 
But my English comrades had forgotten to put me 
through the form preliminary to an invitation to the 
Thursday evenings of the Grand -Duchess, on 
which evenings she had a reception or a ball. The 


omission I discovered, dining on Thursday at Herr 
von Schardt's. The preliminary form was, simply, 
to be presented to the Countess Schulemburg ; and 
this, in order that I might not lose the Thursday 
of the following week, was done the next day. 

From what has been related of the presentation 
to the Grand-Duchess, the logical reader will infer 
that one to her chief lady was not enveloped in 
many folds of formality. Opposite the palace is a 
large, plain building of three stories, similar out- 
wardly and in inward structure to one of our col- 
lege buildings at Cambridge or Princeton, called 
the Prinzen Haus, from having been once tem- 
porarily occupied by members of the reigning 
family. In the several stories of this edifice were 
lodged, in separate series of apartments, most of 
the ladies attached to the court. Here we were 
received by the Countess and her two daughters. 
I already knew the daughters, having half-waltzed 
with them a few evenings before. We were re- 
ceived, as at an ordinary morning call, without 
pre-arrangement, and without the other externals 
which, in a fashionable American house, are deemed 
indispensable — fine dressing and fine furniture. 
The toilets, sofas, tables, and chairs, were all of 
unobtrusive simplicity; nor was there in the de- 
meanor of the inmates a trace of consciousness as 
to the character of these outward things. As 
ladies they received us, having no thought of their 

WEIMAR. 185 

environment, and therefore not leading us to take 
thought thereof. 

Nowhere in Weimar was there rich upholstery. 
Hundreds of houses in New York are more gor- 
geously furnished than was the ducal palace. It is 
true, neither Saxon princes nor Saxon nobles have 
much superfluous cash ; but where there was any, 
it was likely to be invested in works of lasting 
beauty rather than in articles of superficial showi- 
ness, the obtrusive stare of which would discompose 
a gentleman, if any thing could discompose a gen- 
tleman. In Goethe's house the furniture was plain ; 
but engravings, pictures, busts, spoke to the mind 
in his drawing-room. 

It will be readily believed, that in this bright 
Weimar episode of my youth, there were no heavy 
hours. But had I been able to spend, without 
weariness, the whole of every day in dancing, gos- 
siping, lounging, dining, supping, I should have 
been an unworthy participant of a society refined 
by the influence of Wieland, of Herder, of Schil- 
ler, and especially of Goethe, then the only sur- 
vivor. It was vacation with me, and a salutary 
cessation of study ; still two or three hours a day 
with the lighter kind of books, were as grateful a 
refreshment in the long holiday idleness as the 
whole holiday itself was to the working University 
term. I read for the first time Schiller's " Don 
Carlos," the glowing eloquence and aspiration of 


which make it so fascinating to the young, but 
which flinches somewhat before the calm gaze of 
mature criticism. Washington Irving and Feni- 
more Cooper were then in the bloom of their 
European reputation. From a circulating library 
I had " Tales of a Traveller " in the fresh, liberal, 
London edition, and a German translation of Coop- 
er's " Pilot." A lady lent me a life of Iturbide, 
by himself. She did it on the ground that I was 
his countryman ; for she said to me she was glad 
to meet an American, to make inquiries about a 
gentleman a friend of hers, and whom, as he was 
a distinguished man, she was sure I would know 
or know of. Where did he reside, I asked. In 
Mexico. The information I then gave, that my 
home was almost as far from the city of Mexico 
as from Weimar, seemed to confuse more than to 
satisfy or enlighten her. In 1825, Europe knew 
as little of the geography as of the politics of 
America. I am confident, that had my young 
English friends been closely questioned, it would 
have been discovered that some of them had not 
a perfectly distinct notion of the independence of 
the United States. The color of my skin was occa- 
sionally a surprise to inland Germans. One day, 
after dinner at the hotel, I vainly endeavored to 
make a Prussian understand how with us Church 
and State are separate. The most that I can 
hope is, that in his brain I planted a few grains 

WEIMAR. 187 

of seed which, under later warmth, may have 
sprouted. On another occasion, I observed, at the 
public table, one of the guests, whose face I had 
not before seen, eying me with a look which de- 
noted that, from some cause or other, my pres- 
ence gave him pleasure. After dinner, when the 
company had thinned down to half-a-dozen con- 
versable digesters, he said to me with a manner 
combining esteem with cordiality : "lam rejoiced 
to meet an American. You are a great people : 
you are the only people who are a match for the 
English. But for you, they would, by-and-by, 
through their naval supremacy, bemaster the 
world." An Englishman might have heard with 
more pride than offence the declaration, that only 
from her own loins could spring the race able to 
counterpoise England's preponderance over the 

The crop of hate which the English at that day 
reaped from the seed of arrogance and contempt, 
sowed broadcast, as they journeyed through the 
countries of the Continent, has since been largely 
supplanted by a growth of international knowl- 
edge, bearing the healthful fruit of mutual respect 
and leniency. How pert a mischief-maker is 
ignorance. Of w r hat reciprocally the feelings 
then were between the islanders and the dwell- 
ers on the main, I had an amusing exemplifi- 
cation. On a forenoon, one of the English- 


men called for me to take a walk. " What 's all 
this fuss about — who are these epauletted fel- 
lows on the stairway ? " he asked, as he entered 
my room. " The Elector of Hesse Cassel arrived 
half an hour since," I answered ; " he is about 
going to the palace, and these are his suite, wait- 
ing to attend him." This Englishman was a type 
of the animal, muscular, coarser John Bull. He 
was above the middle height, squarely built, broad 
across the shoulders, with good, regular, not promi- 
nent features, a short face and round head, a steady 
blue eye, and tanned skin. Lining the somewhat 
broad stairway, from the upper landing to the bot- 
tom, were ranged six or seven officers of rank, in 
full glittering military dress, forming a double row 
for their master to pass through. The English- 
man, as he left my door, struck his hat down on 
his head, giving it a saucy cant on one side, thrust 
his hands into his pockets, descended the steps with 
a careless, loose gait, cast his eyes neither to the 
right nor to the left, utterly ignoring the presence 
of the dazzling Hessians, and whistled as he went. 
I, who had stopped a moment to turn the key, 
being several paces behind him, had a full view of 
his proceeding and its effect. Contempt could not 
have been more emphatically expressed, even in 
words. And yet, to no one of the contemned was 
it directly conveyed ; for his eyes took no note of 
them. With motionless wrath, the Hessians be- 

WEIMAR. 189 

held this sudden insolent apparition. Their mus- 
tachios seemed almost to curl with impotent rage ; 
for the offence was hardly a tangible one ; more- 
over, it was committed by an Englishman — a 
most palpable Englishman. The Hessians were, 
doubtless, brave men, and bore no especial love to 
Englishmen ; nevertheless, they would, probably, 
on the spot, have resented the act, indirect though 
it was, had it been committed by a man of any 
other nation. No other European would or could 
have done such a thing. No other, however brave, 
would have had the boldness and independence to 
give his scorn such expression. The habitual con- 
sciousness of freedom — a consciousness which no 
other European had then, or (alas !) has now — gave 
to the Englishman a virile tone, which enabled him 
to do what none other would dare do ; and, more 
than this, to do what was offensive, and almost in- 
decent, with impunity ; for these very Hessians, 
not one of whom could even have felt moved to 
such a deed, and who were boiling with con- 
strained anger, were yet unconsciously and unwil- 
lingly awed into passiveness by the manly inward 
power which enabled the Englishman to do it. 

On the following Sunday I was presented to 
the Grand-Duke. Carl August was below the mid- 
dle height, with a large, square head, and w T ell- 
composed face, expressive of intellect and energy. 
From recent illness, he was still pale and feeble ; 


and being hard of hearing, in the interview before 
dinner, I had to raise my voice, which seemed to 
annoy him. I was glad when our brief conversa- 
tion ended, and I thought his Highness somewhat 
grumpy. Now, among my precious memories is 
this : that in his own palace, I was presented to 
the enlightened, hospitable prince, the pupil of 
Wieland, the generous protector of Schiller, and 
the life-long fraternal friend of Goethe. 

And have you nothing more to say of Goethe ? 
some of my readers may here ask. Would that I 
had. But, to be frank, I thought very little about 
Goethe. If self-reproaches were, in such a case, 
of any avail, briskly would I join the reader in 
heaping a mountain of them on my own head. 
Here was, indeed, a gigantic example of the wasted 
opportunities of youth. True, with the most in- 
tense will, I could not have had another interview 
with Goethe. From the illness into which he fell, 
two clays after my arrival, he did not recover until 
I had left Weimar. His daughter-in-law promised 
me that I should see him again ; but the day never 
came. I spent, however, three weeks, lodged 
within a stone's throw of his house, in the town 
where he had lived for fifty years, and where there 
were scores of men and women who had witnessed 
his arrival, and a whole population familiar with 
his person and his e very-day life. I might have 
questioned the recollections of octogenarians, the 

WEIMAR. 191 

experience of the middle-aged. I might have 
sought out his old servants, his old enemies, and his 
old and his new friends — he had no new enemies. 
I might have tracked him to Ilmenau and to Jena. 
Now, presupposing the miracle, that a young man 
of twenty-two could have so appreciated Goethe — 
have so seized the significance of his deep life — 
have so mastered the import of such a career, as 
to have originated the inquiry, and then pursued it 
with a sagacious zeal ; still, although many par- 
ticulars might have been gleaned, whose valuable 
meaning sympathy would interpret, the result would 
probably have been far less affluent than you hope. 
Those among whom he lived did not fully real- 
ize his greatness. Familiarity with a great man 
does not breed indifference ; but there may be 
even respect and affection without the key of sym- 
pathy, which alone can unlock the treasury of a 
mind. On his neighbors and fellow-townsmen the 
impression of any great man is stamped more by 
the acts and qualities wherein he is like themselves, 
than by those which constitute his greatness. Be- 
sides, in the many — without regard to class — 
there is a special obtuseness to the claims of poetic 
power — an unwillingness to acknowledge, grounded 
on an incapacity to perceive, the superiority of the 
creative nature. An extreme instance of this dul- 
ness I witnessed in England, a few years ago. 
While I was at Malvern, Wordsworth (it was only 


a year or two before he died) arrived at the house 
of a relative, on the opposite side of the Malvern 
Hills. Wishing to shake hands once more with 
the great poet, I hired- a donkey-carriage, to drive 
the two or three miles round. Had I taken the 
shorter foot-path, over the hills, I should have met 
Wordsworth, who, then in his eightieth year, crossed 
them that very morning, on foot. The driver — 
whom we had often before employed — was a mid- 
dle-aged man, intelligent and thriving. As we 
drew near, I told him we were going to see the 
poet Wordsworth, the greatest man then living in 
England. The house stood at some distance from 
the public road, and the driver getting dow r n to 
open the gate that led to it, I said he need go no 
further with the carriage — we would walk to the 
house ; and then, bethinking me, I added, " but 
perhaps you would like to take the chance of see- 
ing Mr. Wordsworth ; in that case we will drive 
to the door." " Oh ! no, sir," he answered, " I 
don't know what good that will do me." I should 
have rejoined, " drive in, at any rate, perhaps the 
donkey will like to see him." 

To return to Weimar. 

One afternoon we found ourselves — two or 
three of my English fellow-idlers and myself — in 
the drawing-room of Madame Goethe. Goethe's 
son and daughter-in-law had in his house up-stairs, 
a separate suite of rooms. The Englishmen — 

WEIMAR. 193 

more muscular than mental — soon got into a 
romp with several young ladies, who happened to 
be present. Not being so demonstrative, I was 
a tranquil, and by no means admiring spectator of 
the hoydenish flirtation. German houses are not 
the most solid. The room so shook, that I feared 
some cups, on an etagere, would leap to the floor. 
I said to Madame Goethe, " Will not this disturb 
your father-in-law ? " " Oh ! no," she answered, 
" he will not hear it, and if he does, he will not 
mind it." This is another precious, and, I may 
add, unique memory, that, in Goethe's own house, 
I once raised my voice, to protect his sick nerves 
from the possibility of a shock. 

On the last Thursday of my stay, there w T as a 
ball at the palace. I was not yet qualified to take 
a master's degree in that department of knowl- 
edge which now, throughout all Christendom, is in 
ball-rooms the most profitable. In the art of waltz- 
ing, I was still a learner. But, in amends, I was 
so proficient in the less passionate and more varie- 
gated, the gentlemanly quadrille (in my dancing 
days we called it cotillon,) that mortification at 
failures in the native dance was counterbalanced 
by triumphs in the foreign ; and as things from 
abroad are, for their very rarity, esteemed more 
than their equivalents of home-production, I gained, 
on the Weimar floor, by my skill in the French 
step, far more credit than I lost by my rawness in 



the German. In truth, at that day I had the 
French step, in all its elaborate diversity, com- 
pletely at my toes' ends. Here let me gratefully 
pause, to pay tribute to the two professors of this 
elegant art, to whom I owed my mastership, and 
its consequent honors. Doubtless there are still 
living, in the District of Columbia, some young 
grandfathers, and younger grandmothers, who can 
in memory go down into the first decade of the 
present century, and draw up thence cheerful im- 
ages of their embryo selves, when, with their heads 
not much above the level of his knee, they were 
ranged in line by the fiddle-bow of Mr. Generee. 
This gentleman was a sample of the French danc- 
ing-master of that age — courteous, patient, straight, 
graceful, with a calf like the Borghese gladiator. 
My legs were very, very short, w r hen they did their 
then utmost to mimic the motions of his, in Wash- 
ington, and also in Bladensburg ; for (alas, the de- 
cadence of ancient respectabilities !) the village of 
Bladensburg (not yet historical) could then muster 
a dancing-class large enough to draw the professor 
five miles out from the capital. What, under the 
tillage of Mr. Generee, could, with such tender 
sap, shoot only into promising buds, bloomed out, 
a few years later, into a luxuriant crop of steps, 
under the culture of Mr. Guillou of Philadelphia, 
a gentleman who must be the object of pleasant 
recollections to hundreds of still breathing pupils, 

WEIMAR. 195 

and who, moreover, for his intrinsic worthiness, was 
by a large circle beloved and esteemed. Since 
those modest days, the amorous waltz has, in 
America, too, so thrust the quadrille aside, that 
the present generation of dancers have no experi- 
ence of the French expertness of their predeces- 
sors. Will it be believed, that for the chassez 
forward, I had four different steps, with balanccz 
to match ? Then, we did not walk through the 
figures, we danced conscientiously from beginning 
to end ; and, under inspiring influences, displayed 
our whole variegated store of movements. This 
I did not do in the private houses, even of Wei- 
mar. But in the palace, and my last ball, and 
goaded by the easy superiorities of gyrating com- 
petitors, I performed my part in a style which 
would have rejoiced the muscles of my old teachers, 
who I can, if I please, now have the satisfaction of 
believing were (according to recent theories of 
trans-terrestrial existence) happy witnesses of that 
hour's triumphs, hovering above me, their incor- 
poreal legs following the Grand-ducal music, in a 
duet of silent, invisible, saltatory delight. 

The cautious, sensitive, and calculating, advise 
that an incident which, however true, yet so out- 
strips the common march of events as to be difficult 
of belief, should not be chronicled, lest thereby the 
credibility of the writer be brought into question, 
and not only the exceptional fact itself be rejected, 


but discredit be thrown on all the other statements 
of the narrator. Such suppression I hold to be 
unworthy a manly mind. Of the consp,quences of 
telling the truth, conscious rectitude should be 
utterly thoughtless. What is true, keeps true, de- 
spite disbelievers ; and on them alone falls the pen- 
alty of ignorant disbelief. Should readers doubt 
the fact I am about to relate, I shall be sorry — 
on their account, not in the least on my own. 
While the younger company were dancing in the 
ball-room of the palace, the Grand-Duchess, with 
some of the elder nobles, spent the evening in 
muscular sobriety, at whist, in another room. Rec- 
ollect that this sovereign Grand-Duchess was she 
who successfully rebuked Napoleon. Now for the 
incident. At courts, there are always courtiers 
watchful to minister to the pleasure of their sov- 
ereign. The Grand-Duchess — informed, doubt- 
less, by these — temporarily left her cards and 
w T alked into the ball-room to see the young Amer- 
ican dance a quadrille ! This I only learnt at the 
end of the dance, as her Royal Highness was re- 
turning to the card-table. Had I, when on the 
floor, been conscious of so august a spectator, I can- 
not now say but that the effect would have been 
depressing, instead of elevating. Whether the 
Grand-Duchess left the card-table at the end of a 
rubber, or at the end of a game, or at the end of a 
deal ; or whether she had just been a loser, and 

WEIMAR. 197 

was therefore glad of any excuse to break off for 
a while, in order to change the luck — this it was 
impossible for me to inquire into, however valuable 
knowledge of such concomitants would have been, 
as indicating more definitely the animus of her 
extraordinary act. 

And now, the vacation was drawing to a close. 
I had but a few days more in Weimar. On Fri- 
day, the day after the grand ball at the palace, 
there was, in the evening, a party at the rooms 
of the Countess Julie von Eglofstein, then about 
thirty, one of the unmarried ladies of the court, 
distinguished, in Germany, for accomplishments, 
taste, culture, and a rare Juno-like beauty. Here 
I saw for the first and only time — and that but 
for the brief moments between the rising and 
the falling of the curtain on a tableau vivant, in 
w T hich he was the leading figure — the dark, large, 
Italian features of Goethe's son. On Saturday, I 
left cards, P. P. C. On Sunday, I dined for the 
last time at court. Of this dinner, I have, too, a 
pleasant memory. I had failed to get the seat I 
aimed at, beside the Countess Eglofstein. On one 
side of her was a stranger to me ; on the other, 
a young Englishman, whom I knew but slightly. 
Before the company had got quite settled in their 
places, I made a supplicatory appeal to his gen- 
erosity to exchange seats with me — he, I said, 
was to be months longer in Weimar, it was my 


last day. He rose and gave me his seat. He 
did it with a kind and ready courtesy which be- 
came one of his lineage. His name was Shelley, 
and he was related to the illustrious poet. 

On Monday, the eighteenth of April, I was on 
my way to Goettingen, one of the fifteen hundred 
students who, making travellers' lines from all 
points of the compass, turned their faces back to- 
ward that learned centre, where, in a quiet little 
Hanoverian town, was then the foremost univer- 
sity of Christendom. 

And so ends the record of Weimar, the reading 
of w T hich will, I trust, afford some fraction of the 
gratification derived from the recording. A subtle 
pleasure there is, more sw r eet than sad, in thus 
minutely reviving the festal days of the far-off 
past, when life moved without burdens, and was 
too happy to think of its happiness. Like blos- 
soming flowers, seen in a window through the fast- 
falling snow, are these pictures of youth, beheld 
through the chill of our autumn and winter years. 
Strange and warm they look, and so distant. In 
their freshness and unfading smile, they stand 
apart ; and yet, they are parcel of our present 
life, which they temper, mingling in it like the soft 
tongues of childhood in the hard converse of age. 


From Goettingen to Antwerp. 

A NOTHER semester at Goettingen would have 
■*"*- been a tedium. I had exhausted the Univer- 
sity. What ! the hundred professors, could they 
teach you nothing more ? The professors had an 
undiminished capacity to teach, but my capacity 
to learn was much reduced. From a cask of the 
best wine you can only pour into a bottle a fixed 
measure. Was I then already full ? This illus- 
tration is defective, for a bottle has no expansibil- 
ity; whereas the living brain is indefinitely capa- 
cious, and, drawing life from what it imbibes, the 
more it takes in the more it thirsts. But what is 
taken in must be assimilable ; and even then there 
needs timeliness in the taking. 

Had I been of a merely receptive nature, I 
might have spent years at Goettingen in diligent 
accumulation, adding to my learned stores with 
each recurrent solstice, resting and refreshing my- 
self by change of intellectual diet as I passed 
from one " Faculty " of the bountiful University to 
another. But — unconsciously then to myself — 
knowledge was to me but a means of culture. 


Acquirement and study and the thoughts of others 
are but instruments for unfolding and ripening my 
own powers. Had there been in the " Faculty of 
Philosophy " a genial literary department, so that, 
having now mastered the language, I could have 
enjoyed high lessons in criticism, in the principles 
and mysteries of style, in poetry, a new life would 
have been given to a fourth semester. But there 
was nothing of the sort. Bouterweck's was the 
only course on Literature and ^Esthetics ; and his 
was a mind without insight or original reach. 
Mueller's " Archaeology " was more learned and 
historical than sesthetical, and thence, although in- 
structive, did not take tight hold of the feelings 
and reason. In the finer literary province, teachers 
whose lessons would have awakened creative aspir- 
ation, who could have met and embraced the inner 
deeper wants, were not to be had in Goettingen. 
And where are such to be had ? 

I had followed most of the courses on subjects 
of general interest, subjects a scholastic introduc- 
tion to which contributes to give the necessary 
breadth to the foundations of a liberal education. 
Had not an introduction such as was secured by 
one course of lectures been all-sufficient for the 
profit then attainable, I might have resorted to the 
auditorium of Sartorius to learn wherein his teach- 
ings in Politics and Political Economy differed from 
those of his rival, Saalfeld. The difference I 


should have found to be neither deep nor broad ; 
for the treatment of politics in German universities 
was then (and probably is still) more mechanical 
and formal than vital ; and as to Political Economy, 
I had had already too much of the husks that are 
passed off for succulent grain, having at Harvard 
gone studiously through the treatise of the elder 
Say, — at that time the text-book there, — and 
having just taken copious notes under the desk of 

To me it seems that Political Economy is very 
much overrated. It is referred to as if there lay 
within its precepts some golden key that could 
unlock the largest social problems ; as if one who 
should have mastered its mysteries were master of 
a secret that was to lighten all public burdens. 
Now in it there are neither mysteries nor depths. 
Its substance is as external and subservient as are 
its forms and methods. In the vast circle of 
agencies that affect human association, Political 
Economy stands as secondary to all the controlling 
powers as Chemistry does to vital force. Chem- 
istry has to do with dead elements, or matter unor- 
ganized. Wealth and material products, where- 
with Political Economy has to do, are the results 
of action and influences involving considerations 
and principles that lie above its range. Like 
Chemistry, Political Economy can merely analyze ; 
and it is only lifeless elements that can be analyzed. 
But society is a never-ending synthesis. 


The importance bestowed on the body of rules 
and forms and judgments that have been deduced 
from observation of the action of government on 
the production, distribution, and consumption of 
material products, to which is given the imposing 
name of Political Economy, is due to the material 
tendencies of the past century. People thought 
that by systematizing an accumulation of empirical 
results into regulations for the management of the 
material resources of a nation, they had found a 
political philosopher's stone. Beginning at the 
wrong end, they sought to lift effects and second- 
ary antecedents into causes, striving to make that 
primary which is altogether dependent. What 
vitiates the whole procedure, taking all life out of 
Political Economy, is, that to control the produc- 
tion (to say nothing of the distribution and con- 
sumption) of wealth you must control the whole 
producer. You cannot separate the worker from 
the man. It is this disjunction of him, as though 
he could be dualized, this mechanizing of man, that 
makes the whole pretended science of compar- 
atively little account. Of human work Political 
Economy relates to but a part, and that the grosser 
part, and is thence not only deficient, but deficient 
there where play the highest forces of human 
vitality, and is chargeable with attempting, through 
an inferior province of human interests, to control 
the nobler. Its more confident votaries remind me 


of a man who many years ago came to me in Bal- 
timore to enlist my editorial interest in establish- 
ing Lyceums ; not because they were good things 
as making occasions of bringing people together 
for intellectual culture, but because, as he earnestly 
insisted, they w r ould be the means of universally 
enlightening the population, and thence of rapidly 
reforming all moral evils and abuses. A mechan- 
ical contrivance was to regenerate the world ! 

Humanity at this moment urgently needs, not 
to know what under existing institutions is the best 
way for government to interfere with the labor of 
individuals, but how to bring order into that labor 
itself. Human work, not only the father of all 
material wealth, (Nature being the mother,) but 
designed to be the agent of all human good, moral, 
intellectual, material, cries for organization, in 
order that its mighty function be duly performed. 
To still the discords of civilization, work must be 
organized. And the organization of work demands 
a reach of thought with the cooperation of sym- 
pathies that make a minor section in the mental 
outlay of a thorough-paced political economist. 
Hence, the profound all-embracing social questions 
that have begun to agitate Christendom are met 
with repugnance or contempt by this class of 
writers, who, being mostly men wanting in geniality 
and juiciness, exhibit much of that quiet self-suffi- 
ciency to which those are especially liable who, 


incapable of seizing the whole of a subject, fasten 
voraciously on that lower side of it which is within 
their grasp. 

Much more had I found in Goettingen than I 
came thither to seek. Through the lecture-rooms 
I had sought admission into the wide populous 
precincts of history and politics and public law, 
and statistics and aesthetics and natural history, to 
found, through introduction by those who had a 
cordial familiarity with these intellectual potencies, 
acquaintanceship that might in after years ripen 
to intimacy. But I gained, besides, what was still 
better worth the labor expended, namely, an intro- 
duction to the spirit and method, the thoroughness 
of German mental work. I learned to know (with 
all the possible profit consequent on such knowl- 
edge) the wise impartiality, the manly search for 
truth, the thoughtful grasp wherewith the scholars 
of Germany handle the great themes of science 
and study. And further, I brought away a treas- 
ure, the full value whereof I could only learn much 
later — the German tongue. "What seemed then 
but a means of opening my ears to the oral knowl- 
edge of the lecture-rooms, was to be that of silently 
laying bare to me the thought and beauty and 
wisdom that lie within the pages of Leasing, and 
Schiller, and Richter, and Goethe. 

The gentleman who, at the suggestion of a prime 
minister, studied Spanish in order to obtain the 


secretaryship of the mission to Spain, and who was 
told — to comfort him for the disappointment of 
not getting it — that his toil had not been in vain, as 
he would now have the happiness of reading " Don 
Quixote " in the original, had a minor indemnifica- 
tion to that of him who, by mastering German, 
has earned a life -estate in the wealth of Goethe. 
Goethe was one of the most richly-endowed of the 
sons of men, many-sided and broad-sided and 
bright-sided. Having the supreme gift of imag- 
inative transfiguration, he gives to truth winged 
bodies of beauty, wherewith to hover over and 
attract, and delight while instructing, the more 
capable of his fellows ; he having first, through 
this high power of imagination, gained insights that 
purged his nature and his knowledge, and gave a 
symmetry to his thought while it stimulated its vast 
fertility. Goethe's thought is not for Germans 
only but for men. His wisdom is a clear distilment 
out of the profundities and brilliancies, the man- 
ifold capabilities and yearnings and achievements 
of humanity, which in him flower with a beauty 
and fullness whereof we have in Shakespeare alone 
a richer example. So much breadth with so much 
subtlety, so much largeness with fineness of text- 
ure, so much power with the most delicate literary 
susceptibility, are nowhere else to be met with. 
He took up into his mind from without more than 
other men, because his capacity of appropriation 


was so wide and at the same time so minute ; and 
through all the months and weeks and days of 
eighty years his thought was fed by his sensibilities 
with fresh food, so firm and healthy was his organ- 
ization. Through sympathy for all that lives, he 
joyed in multifarious observation and study, and 
in a lifelong productiveness ; and through love of 
the beautiful and the true, he sought ever a better 
than we have to-day, asking with his latest breath 
for " more light." 

Thus had Goettingen sown on my mind good and 
various seed, and much of it — as much as I could 
bear. To have stayed longer would have crowded 
the soil and have been more harmful than helpful. 
But I could not have stayed longer. Even a month 
more would have been as distasteful to me as to 
the palate of a healthful diner were the piling of 
food into his stomach after a full repast. Of the 
German food which at that stage of mental growth 
I was capable of digesting, I had my fill. What 
was best for me I could not then definitely hwu\ 
but I felt it with something higher than an instinct. 

And so, having taken leave of kind friends, — 
some of them fellow-students, at the steps of the 
Eilivagen, — at midnight on the twenty-fourth of 
September, 1825, I bade adieu to Goettingen with 
sorrow and joy, — sorrow at breaking the many 
ties which affection spins out of hale hearts, and 
with the joy which is the buoyant child of hope 


when the young start on a new journey in life, 
untrodden paths beckoning them with promises 
and fascinations. As companion to Cassel I had 
my former fellow-traveller, Weir. At Cassel the 
next day we dined with a friend of his, Mr. Schiebe, 
who held a minor post under the Hessian Govern- 
ment, and who dispensed to us a modest cheerful 

Weir was a manly Scotsman, whose way through 
the brambles and tangles of the world was to be 
cut by himself; he had a head-piece well equipped 
for the work. Like most of his young countrymen at 
Goettingen, he had been there for the sake of Civil 
Law ; but, with the aspiration for which at that 
time were creditably notable other of his fellow-law- 
yers at Edinburgh, he was drawn into the freer 
fields of literature, and had already made his en- 
trance into print, through that open, inviting, and 
almost unavoidable modern door, the public jour- 
nals. He was of a temper at once joyful and 
earnest. He and Dwight had one evening a lively 
encounter as to the superior prowess of the Scot 
or the Yankee in pecuniary keenness and the arts 
of thrift. Dwight's stories were rather the most 
stringent, when Weir, to overwhelm him with one 
concentric blow, declared that in Scotland they 
have a saying, that it takes two Jews to make one 
Scotchman. " But we," rejoined Dwight, " have 
a saying, that it takes two Scotchmen to make one 


Connecticut-Hian." Weir spoke with modest pride 
of friendly acquaintance with Sir James Mackintosh ; 
and it was probably the influence of Sir James that 
led him later in life to London, where he died in 
1858, having been for several years the efficient 
editor of the leading liberal English journal, the 
Daily Neivs. 

Part of the journey to Frankfort was more than 
beguiled by the talk of a Professor in the Giessen 
Gymnasium, or College — one of that large class of 
devoted indoor workers who keep the scholarship of 
Germany up to so high a level. At Frankfort I fell 
in again with Watson, — a meeting as agreeable 
as it was unexpected. Watson, somewhat past the 
university-age — being about twenty-six — was 
one of several Englishmen, who, during my stay 
at Goettingen, had at different times spent a few 
weeks there, attracted by the renown of the Uni- 
versity, then preeminent in Europe, from its 
uniquely brilliant band of teachers, the German ac- 
cessibility of its rich museums and botanical gardens, 
its observatory, and its vast teeming library, with 
.doors wide open to all comers. In that land of in- 
tellectual husbandry many are the men who spend 
years in a university-town, whither they had been 
drawn as studious visitors, getting firmly domesti- 
cated among the ready instruments and facilities 
for acquirement and culture. Several were pointed 
out to me who, having come to Goettingen to pass 


a few months, found themselves mentally in 
so warm a nook that they had there nested them- 
selves for life. 

One whose first love dies unenjoyed hugs the re- 
membrance of a hope, which, fed by tenderest im- 
aginations, becomes a delicate possession of the 
heart, growing even more exquisite with years. The 
mind, under the sad sweet pressure, exerts its pre- 
servative and at the same time its creative power, 
beautifying while it perpetuates. With feebler 
grasp, but with kindred fruition, the memory fon- 
dles with affectionate fancies friends of early 
days whom death has taken ere the impulsions 
of youth have stiffened into self-seekings, and 
suspiciousness has encroached on frankness, and 
the practices and collisions of over-busy over- 
bearing life have hardened the moral texture, 
transfiguring early companions. 

Watson was a friend and pupil of Coleridge. 
One day he took from his trunk a volume of " The 
Friend," and read a sentence aprojios to our talk. 
The words went little further than my outward 
ear ; for Coleridge was then to me but a shim- 
mering name. Only several years later was un- 
sealed to me the page whose splendors and pro- 
fundities were to be a resource even in maturest 
years. That one sentence may, however, have been 
a seed ; for through " The Friend " (in Marsh's 
American edition of 1831), it was that I first made 


acquaintance with Coleridge, and took him into my 
heart, to be there a life-long warmth and illumina- 

Of a nature to love one whom he so much ad- 
mired, Watson, though not of the calibre to be an 
interpreting constructive disciple, was probably a 
cherished pupil of the kindly master. Tall and 
well built, of a nervous rather than muscular struct- 
ure, he had a fine head thickly topped with strong, 
half-curly, black hair, and a countenance, in shape 
and feature Roman, uniting sweetness with intelli- 
gence, on which when he laughed, as he did often, 
a glittering row r of teeth threw a light partly 
physical, partly moral, flashing on you the purity 
and probity of the man. Over his circle his early 
death must have shed more than the common fam- 
ily gloom. He was one for affection to twine around 
and for hope to build on. 

What a regenerative fecundity in Nature, that 
she keeps her bloom undimmed against the hourly 
fading of so many blossoms and flush flowers. In 
other ranges than the supreme human still more 
lavish of life is she. Go into the summer fields, 
crushing as you step myriads of new-born crea- 
tures ; gather in spring from your trees, for their 
protection, a basket of cocoons to burn their count- 
less germs ; tread in some watery inland nook 
among the spawn of salmon ; think of the hourly 
devastation through earth and ocean by animals 


that feed on their living subordinates. Nature is 
a vast throbbing vivarium. Life, multitudinous, 
elastic, unquenchable, defies loss or lesion, and re- 
news itself as the sun his heat. Death is in 
every case but a transformation. Nothing dies. 
Through the Oriental belief in the transmigration 
of souls glimmers a divine truth. All apparent 
death is but a transmigration of life into another 
form — a renewal through change. The imperish- 
able Protean vitality shifts its embodiment. When 
in our more carnal and timid moods we consider 
human pain and destruction, through disease and 
war and many-legged misery, we moan and doubt, 
and in thought almost blaspheming, are ready to 
impugn Providence. But moans and doubts are 
but the writhings of our frailty ; and law, seem- 
ingly heartless but really merciful, plies ceaselessly 
through daily death ; and we, as we quicken with 
spiritual growth, recognize its beneficence. 

Having come in a packet-boat from Frankfort 
to Mayence, w r e loitered down the Rhine on foot, 
betaking us, when tired, to a skiff to float with the 
current of the old river, then innocent of steam. 
The vines were at their flood of spicy juice, ready 
to overrun into the wine-tubs. Already the au- 
tumn sun threw, even with his noon-day fire, rock 
and slope and ruin into the tender relief of long- 
shadows ; the landscape lying still and silent that 
the celestial artist might the more effectively lay on 


his many-tinted strokes ; or, soft breezes at times 
making a tremulous interlacing of leaf and light. 
But young blood is too ebullient for full reflection 
of the calm beauties and grandeurs of Nature, her 
tranquil images being made to quiver in the head- 
long current. Youth's business is to absorb, not 
to reverberate. Intellectual pleasures are height- 
ened, nay, almost in many cases created, by the 
consciousness which comes and deepens with years. 
Indeed, the broader the life and the more culti- 
vated, the greater should be the zest of all one's 
joys, even the lower. In old age life should still 
have its daily freshness and newness. The source 
of youthful enjoyment is growth, and growth should 
never cease. The stars lose not their sparkle 
with years ; and the soul has within it a fire to 
send with every new day a new flame into the eyes 
and thoughts. But in our later earthly years the 
soul gets smothered by misgrowths and bedraggled 
memories of the senses, and its light darkened by 
opaque or intrusive or impossible desires. The 
body, to keep its health, throws off daily the effete, 
what to the tissues has become barren, its scorice 
and recrement ; and the mind, for its cleanliness 
and sprightliness, should not seek to live in man- 
hood on the dross of youth, or paralyze itself in 
age w r ith trying to find nourishment in what should 
be the sediment of manhood. Old age may be as 
hopeful, as freshly fed with imaginations, as blithe 


and secure as youth, if on its way it shall have 
purged itself of untimely obsessions, if it will not 
let the soul — soon to slip its hold on earthly 
hooks — be besieged by earthy desires or bewil- 
dered by material fancies, nor the sacred chambers 
of the heart be haunted by the phantoms of passion. 

We parted, my friend and I, at Cologne, and, 
by the old road through Aix-la-Chapelle and Liege, 
the h£avy, steady, drowsy diligence carried me 
again to Antwerp. 

The fruit I had gathered in Goettingen found 
no market in Antwerp. None that I came in con- 
tact with valued me for having in my absence of 
twenty months acquired a right of property in 
Faust and Wilhelm Meister. There the jewels, 
wherewith the creator of these masterpieces has 
perennially irradiated the brow of humanity, were 
no more distinguishable than in a dark chamber 
would be diamonds from garnets. A community 
purely Catholic offers small scope for the spiritual- 
ities of literature. The freedom of intellectual 
play enjoyed on these heights endangers priestly 

A people who has not produced good lasting 
books continues, in spiritual nonage, a nation of 
pupils — what Rome likes and fosters. And yet, 
from that whereof literature is made the papacy 
has drawn much of its power and all of its lustre. 
Had the dwellers in Italy not been of such calibre 


and quality as to create two literatures, Papal 
Rome had not grown to her gigantic proportions ; 
possibly had not grown at all. The blood of her 
body was the mental pith whereof literature is at 
once the index and the embodiment ; while out of 
the grandeurs and beauties and subtleties, whose 
purest expression is poetry, were woven her fas- 
cinations. Virgil and Ovid and Livy and Lucretius 
were as much her necessary antecedents, as were 
Dante and Petrarca and Boccaccio her concomitants 
and unconscious auxiliaries. Spirituality, the es- 
sence of elemental religion, is the life of the higher 
poetry, which, through the corroborating sympathies 
of the human mind, readily resolves itself into the 
devotional. The Greek Poets, if they did not 
generate, were the foster-fathers who shaped into 
symmetry the Greek Gods. Isaiah and Job and 
the Psalms give to the Hebrew Bible its aerial 
force, whereby it rises above the material earth, 
drawing toward Heaven the thoughts of mighty 

But despotism brooks no rivalry ; and as the 
supreme masters in literature carry men's minds 
into that highest region of thought wherein — in 
order to be the masters that they are — they must 
have had their being, Dante and Kant and Pascal 
and Goethe and Shakespeare are ever objects of 
jealousy to priesthoods. These, aiming at control 
of the inward sources of opinion, would like to 


thrust out of the way those who, by the breadth 
and strength of their thinking, beget and sustain 
that elevation and freedom of thoughtful range 
where men are above the plane of rituals, and are 
apt to look on ecclesiastical pretensions with feel- 
ings more akin to disdain than respect. Thence 
priesthoods, and especially the Romish, as the most 
compact, would maim and inthrall literature. 
They would dilute its marrow, which is indepen- 
dence ; they would tether its life, which is freedom. 
To this end goes their indirect influence as well 
as their purposed action. And where there is 
not the liveliest vitality in a people, at the core a 
soundness and vigor that will not abide stagnancy, 
spiritual aspiration is smothered, and the soul, lulled 
into contentment with such food as Cardinals and 
Bishops dole to it, creeps lazily on its earthly path, 
or sinks into a restless apathy. 

In Belgium the obstacle to the kind and degree 
of development implied in the possession of a lit- 
erature has not been territorial circumscription ; 
and Palestine and Attica attest with unimpaired 
avouchment that neither largeness of territory nor 
of population is requisite for the culture and the 
concentration of thought needed for the production 
of immortal books. The chief obstacle has been 
geographical, the territory of Belgium being sur- 
rounded by overshadowing neighbors ; an environ- 
ment which, with the flatness of the land, has made 


her for centuries a battle-field for Europe, and 
thence, by destroying her political independence, 
has destroyed the first condition for mental self- 
subsistence, and has thus helped to tighten ecclesi- 
astical bonds. 

That sacerdotal sway cannot, with all its will and 
art, wholly smother the fire of a strong people's as- 
piration, we have evidence in the aesthetic creations 
of France and Italy, where the soul has wrought 
for itself wide and frequent vents through perma- 
nent literary monuments ; and more emphatic still 
is this evidence in Spain, whose drama of the six- 
teenth century — so brilliant and rich an expression 
of the national life — bloomed and ripened amid 
the diversified diabolism of the Inquisition ; and 
whence issued during the same period — to be an 
everlasting joy to mankind, domesticating himself 
among all the higher peoples — the dear, delight- 
ful, and most Christian and profound, " Knight of 
La Mancha." 

Such an encompassment of a comparatively lim- 
ited territory like Belgium — political hostility 
aggravated in her case on three sides by religious 
— has the effect of morally isolating a people, im- 
peding that spiritual interchange which strengthens 
and refines the national sap through foreign infu- 
sions. The mental growth of nations, as of men, 
is furthered by the rivalries of association. People 
who stay at home get homely and provincial and 


self-sufficient. Human greatness, collective or in- 
dividual, is nursed by collision. The shrivelling 
of the brain to insanity in solitary confinement is a 
proclamation by Nature of the need of companion- 
ship for mental health and expansion. Variety in 
companionship is as essential as frequency. If for 
a long term a set of people confine their intercourse 
to themselves they grow downward and dull. 

My uncle had never been attracted to the schol- 
arly enterprise of climbing the Teutonic tree to 
taste its literary fruit ; yet he deemed that the 
opportunity should not be missed of ingrafting, 
through me and for my behoof, on the great parent 
stem, its Flemish offshoot. For myself, under the 
momentum of acquisition given me at Goettingen, 
I was ripe for a fresh study. Between my ears 
and the native speech around me there seemed now 
to be but a thin partition, through which I could 
detect the meaning of many words, only somewhat 
transformed by their garb ; and I felt that a few 
weeks' work would level this partition and endue 
my semi-Flemish blood with the tongue of my 
mother's childhood. 

My uncle was never precipitate, and when a 
new step was to be taken he proceeded with minute 
deliberation and a considerate survey of the whole 
field to be embraced. To engage a teacher of 
Flemish for a nephew was an untried procedure. 
Thoughtfully he cast about for the proper man. 


Cunctative consultation was in this case super- 
fluous ; for, we being then in the country, there 
was but one man available — the schoolmaster of a 
neighboring village. To him accordingly applica- 
tion was made, and he agreed to undertake the 
new pupil. 

" The village schoolmaster" of the old regime, 
even in a purely catholic community, was not of 
necessity a numskull. A routine, daily repeated 
through years, even in higher walks than subor- 
dinate pedagogy, dries the brain and deadens the 
spring of its action. But the possibilities of human 
nature are infinite ; and many a man, humble and 
unambitious, so as to be content with a modest 
calling, bears within him a latent heat that keeps 
his faculties limber, blest with a resilience of soul 
that rebounds against the pressure of monotony, 
even when aggravated by the superposition of the 
parish priest, on the top of whom is a bishop, who 
carries a cardinal, on whose head stands the Pope, 
— under which sacerdotal load, to keep the mind 
alive and erect implies in the brain fine elasticity, 
and a private discipline like that in the muscles of 
the circus-hero, unbent beneath his pyramid of 
men. Of this elasticity my village teacher, poor 
fellow, had nothing. Nor beneath the weight 
above him was he smothered, any more than the 
frog is under the ground in winter : like so many, 
higher placed than himself, he lived in a semi- 


mental torpor. As behind him and his provincial 
vocabulary there sounded no Goethes and Schillers 
summoning me to a festival, we soon parted, the 
kindly woodeny man and I ; and I dare say that 
to him the parting was not less welcome than it 
was to me. 


From Antwerp to Edinburgh. 

T1THEN I quitted Goettingen my aim was Ed- 
" " inburgh ; and so, after a visit of two or three 
weeks to my uncle, I recrossed the Schelde, and. 
by the diligence which, two years before, had 
brought me so slowly and safely to Antwerp, made 
my way back to Ostend. 

Ostend was then, and is still, and from its geo- 
graphical advantages must ever continue to be, one 
of the readiest resorts of that open-handed class 
of Englishmen whose muscles are of so lax a fibre 
that they cannot keep their fingers clutched on 
guineas, but these will run out faster than they 
come in ; which weakness subjects its victims to un- 
seasonable persecutions from the close-fisted, who 
hoard more than they spend. To bafHe these im- 
pertinences, the more liberal resentfully turn their 
backs on the gloomy shores of Albion, and for a 
term (often a long one) enliven the neighboring 
towns of France and Belgium with their leisurely 
free-and-easy presence. The suction of rank, 
which is ever straining at the ambitions of the un- 
titled multitude, the magical oozing of oil from the 


hinges of fashionable doors on being touched with 
gold, the power of appearances, especially in Eng- 
land — these causes conspire to replenish this open- 
palmed breed, 1 many people being hereby incited 
to gauge their expenditure rather after the prod- 
igality of their desires than the sordidness of their 

Among those whom the peremptory British 
bailiff had chased into exile, was pointed out to me 
a ci-devant dandy, who figured conspicuously in the 
brilliant London " seasons" of 1814-15, and had 
been a college friend and afterwards comrade of 
Byron. Had these been his sole merits, hardly 
would my looks have been called toward him. 
But Fame, with her glittering finger, singled him 
out because his fingers had been linked in subtle 
work with those of one of her wealthiest heirs. 
He had written two lines in one of the stanzas of 
" Don Juan." This was Scrope Davies. 

The King of Dandydom of that epoch, Beau 
Brummell, was likewise constrained to transfer his 
royal residence to Calais. Some one inquiring 
about him, a wit answered, that he spent all his 
time between London and Paris. To save his 
latter years from utter want, a petty consulship in 
one of the coast-towns of France had been given 
him. Being (cruelly) dispossessed even of this, 

1 For a characterization and panegyric of them, see Charles 
Lamb's exquisite essay on The Two Races of Men. 


his remaining days were steeped in poverty, and 
at last " his realraless eyes were closed " in a mad- 

Among my fellow-lodgers at the hotel was an 
Englishman, who, in the thirty odd years that he 
had been growing, had so seconded the saps of 
nature that his motions had a leopard-like grace of 
latent strength. He was a middle-class man with- 
out a liberal education ; was six feet high, with 
slightly falling shoulders, and, without corpulence, 
had what is a strong point in the build of horses, 
called " a good barrel," with wide hips, so that the 
outline of his figure approached that of a woman. 
His head was not large, his countenance open, with 
regular unfleshly features that lent themselves 
readily to a laugh. His straight brown hair was 
slightly streaked with gray. We took to one an- 
other at our first meeting, and during my enforced 
tarry at Ostend were inseparable. 

Man solitary were man no-man. Only through 
close union, multiform cooperation, can men be ed- 
ucated into manhood. The idea conveyed by the 
great word humanity could not be ripened, or even 
reached, by the mere presence on the earth of mill- 
ions of men, unbound by the interlacing bonds of 
limitless thought and thought's first-born, cumula- 
tive industry. Hence, infinite are the resources 
of nature for drawing men together. For the 
complex whole even of so incomplete a develop- 


ment of humanity as is our present civilization, the 
attraction of like unto like were all insufficient. 
Through endless combinations of unlike with unlike 
result, in the social and the political and the sesthetic 
and the scientific spheres, refinements and delicate 
complexities and subtle excellencies. For effective 
cooperation there must be affinities ; but these are 
often latent and impalpable. As each planet, so 
each individual man has his atmosphere. Two at- 
mospheres may intermingle ere the individuals have 
even spoken together. Interior correspondences 
sometimes melt outward incompatibilities. Individ- 
uals as diverse in their mental wants and ambitions 
as I and my transient comrade at Ostend, are held 
together through years by an inward inscrutable 
attrahent force, the unselfish to the selfish, the ge- 
nial to the unimaginative, the quick-witted to the 

I did not learn the name of the Englishman, 
nor he mine ; nor did I know w T hat his past was 
or his present, except that from words casually 
dropped by him, I inferred he had something to do 
with the cargo of the steamboat. One evening, 
walking together on the quay, I withheld him from 
yielding to solicitations to which masculine loungers 
at that hour w T ere liable. The next morning he 
thanked me, and probably gave me credit for 
being without the circle of such temptations. At ' 
times, to be thought better than we are is an offset 


of unearned credits against the undue debits scored 
to us by the unjust and the uncharitable. 

Ostend, except in the season of sea-bathing, is 
not a place the traveller cares to stop in longer 
than for a meal. As in 1825 passengers were not 
of so much account as in 1865, the few of us 
bound for England were detained forty-eight hours 
beyond the advertised time, by the collecting and 
getting in of the cargo, which consisted of heavy 
Flemish horses. By means of a huge derrick and 
ropes, pullies and a stout broad bandage of sail- 
cloth, they were hoisted from the quay, and then 
let down into the hold. It was comical to see their 
passive fright as each horse found himself lifted 
from his feet and swinging in the air. 

After a prosperous run, we were landed near 
the Tower of London on a Sunday forenoon. 

Choosing my lodgings from the same motive that 
Charles Lamb chose his, I went to the New Hurn- 
mumSj which, being one of the several hotels that 
front on Covent Garden, was near both the great 
theatres. By the like of me at the New Hum- 
mums, that is, by temporary lodgers in a city, 
whether from abroad or from the country, the 
theatres get pit and boxes filled so full, — a sec- 
ondary cause of the flimsiness of the material fur- 
nished, visitors in a city, much more even than 
residents, going to the theatre to kill time ; and 
for your time-killer the most acceptable entertain- 
ment is one that is superficial, rapid, titillating. 


The primary cause of the worthlessness of the 
major part of what goes on the stage is, that the 
general public — who, as regards its mental food, 
lives mostly from hand to mouth — prefers that 
which is momentarily stimulating, at best quickly 
assimilable, that which busies the attention without 
tasking the thought ; and such food being the most 
easy to furnish, it results that buyers and sellers 
combine to keep of inferior quality the supply for 
the dramatic market. Tradition and the name, 
more than the mental might of Shakespeare, retain 
some of his plays in theatric repertories ; but, had 
Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice been dis- 
covered yesterday, unknown as Shakespeare's, 
and been offered by the finder as his own, would 
managers accept them, and, if accepted and per- 
formed, wxmld they be applauded and repeated ? 
Considering the character of the later successful 
contributions to the stage, and the parallel inapti- 
tude of theatric audiences to thoughtful depth or 
poetic elevation, it may be doubted. 

In human affairs there is a descending tendence, 
the animal and worldly man 'asserting himself rest- 
lessly, oppugnantly, against the human and spiritu- 
al ; and Literature and Art, owing to this downward 
proneness, would run to irredeemable platitude and 
blight were there not a counteraction from the up- 
ward bent given them by the higher class of think- 
ers, who, with their sympathetic controlling power, 



reach the finer cords of humanity and make them 
vibrate in unison with their own, — men, through 
the cordiality of genius, so disinterested, that their 
life's happiness is joy in fresh thought, and their 
love is for the w T ork and not for its effects. 

There is no literature, in the purer sense, but 
through re-creation, through the transmuting vitality 
of the individual mind. Mere reproduction of na- 
ture, the imitating and daguerreotyping of actuality, 
is lifeless, or rather, the attempt to reproduce and 
imitate, for it can never be more than an attempt ; 
and hence, genial men of power aim at a radiant 
interpretation of nature, a symbolic semblance of 
the actual, fidelity to the spirit which is attainable, 
not fidelity to the body which is unattainable. 
Thence they alone give us visions of the beautiful, 
while the work of inferior men who fail to do so — 
and their inferiority comes largely from this fail- 
ure — is opaque and prosaic and transitory, and 
when at its best falls, moreover, short of the truth ; 
for not only is work transparent and buoyant and 
poetically aglow through its beauty, but likewise 
more trustworthy, there being in the beautiful such 
heavenliness that the higher you lift a subject into 
its light the more truth you see and teach. 

The Drama — uniting in its essence the best of 
both the Epic and the Lyric, and offering, through 
its possible high mimicry of the interplay of pas- 
sion and action in real life, the freest field for poetic 


creation — has ever been a favorite form with the 
masters in literature, some of them even contenting 
themselves with its one domain. iEschylus, Soph- 
ocles, Calderon, Moliere, and, after his full man- 
hood, Shakespeare, wrote only dramas. From 
Milton we have a tragedy and a pastoral comedy. 
The greater part of the poetic works, both of 
Goethe and of Schiller, are in the dramatic form. 
To descend to writers who, although high, are not 
master-spirits, all the works of Corneille, Racine, 
Alfieri, are in this form. The foremost of the re- 
markable modern British outburst of poetic genius, 
Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, have left 

To fervent poets the dramatic form is so at- 
tractive because by means of it they can leap at 
a single bound right into the middle of the great 
arena of human action. To creative genius it is 
not the story, nor even the characters that make 
the story, that are primary, but through these the 
drama becomes the most effective medium of elastic 
thought and soul-felt feeling. A poetic drama 
tends to be finely grandly generic, deeply symbolic. 
Thence Goethe says of Shakespeare's plays, — 
" The reader seems to have open before him the 
immense book of fate, against which the tempest 
of busiest life is beating so as to drive the leaves 
backward and forward with violence." 

On the other hand, the sensuous scenic resources 


at his command enable the manager to give effect 
to dialogue which, if printed, no one would read, 
but which, presented to the eye and ear through 
living speech, with all the illusive accompaniments 
of the stage, has a momentary fascination to the 
mind of the multitudinous half-educated, who sit in 
comfortable luxurious passivity, more spectators 
than auditors. Thus theatres get to be factories, 
offering, for the most part, to the public mental 
wares that help them consume an idle evening, 
giving them a dollar's worth of sight and sound, 
signifying little. 

A literary w r ork that is highly imaginative and 
highly intellectual will be largely spiritual, for the 
imagination and intellect cannot rise united to their 
upper phase but through union with the deeper 
wants and aspirations ; and thence, the enjoyment 
which such a work is capable of giving being at its 
fullest only in silent solitary communion, a drama 
of the highest rano-e cannot be embodied on the 
stage in its entire power. Some of the finer es- 
sence escapes, or rather, is absorbed by the gross 
corporeal actuality. For the twentieth time I read 
the opening scene in Hamlet with unabated awe, 
which is much dispelled if, sitting in a box, I see 
the ghost enter in palpable bulk. But not only 
when, with his transcendent mastery, Shakespeare 
opens vistas into the invisible is he beyond sensu- 
ous representation, but throughout his pages, w^hen 


reading him, we are at every moment drawn to 
introversion and meditation ; and in these super- 
sensuous moods we reap the best harvests from his 
exhaustless fields. 

Charles Lamb, in his profound and subtle paper 
against the fitness of the tragedies of Shakespeare 
for representation, says, — u The reading of a 
tragedy is a fine abstraction." Yet is our English 
breed immeasurably beholden to the stage, not for 
being the interpreter, but for being the dispenser, 
the diffuser of Shakespeare ; for, tens of thousands 
have annually come, and continue to come, into his 
powerful presence through the pit and galleries, and 
the boxes too, who, but for them would never have 
had the benediction of his light upon their heads ; 
and thus by means of the stage he has performed, 
and performs his great function of an unresting 
educator of humanity. He who sees Shakespeare 
and does not read him cannot take in the whole 
of him ; but he takes in much, and what is no- 
where else to be had. It is Shakespeare's priv- 
ilege that he can be brought but partially on the 
stage. The best actor can give you but a portion 
of Hamlet or Lear ; while Rachel gave the whole 
of Corneille and Racine. As for the crowd of 
sentimental melodramatic tragedies, for them the 
actors do more than their authors. 

Of Shakespeare's tragedies the most represent- 
able are the historic ; for here we have a great 


reality aggrandized by being embraced within the 
realm of the beautiful, a momentous epoch, through 
masterly gifts, transfused with poetic color. 

Julius Caesar I saw at Covent Garden with 
Charles Kemble as Antony. What martial mu- 
sic resounds through this magnificent drama. In 
no other of Shakespeare's is there in the march of 
the verse more of what Coleridge calls " angelic 
strength." In the opening scene what a signifi- 
cant mingling of homely and sounding phrases. 
With so close a grasp are we held, so entirely are 
our faculties in a moment taken possession of, 
that the words tingle in our ears like voices from 
our own market-place. What a prologue — and 
yet advancing the action so rapidly — is the first 
act, and what a picture of republican Rome at her 
height of sway and grandeur, so broad and lumin- 
ous is each scene and speech and sentence. 

The soliloquy of Brutus at the beginning of the 
second act — in the simple lines what a colossal 
style, and what tragic sadness. This speech some- 
what puzzles Coleridge, who, with his genial gener- 
ous belief in the flawlessness of the Shakespearean 
mind, — looking everywhere for logical conse- 
quence and rounded consistency, does not enough 
allow for the broad, careless, but sure, naturalness 
of Shakespeare, w T ho lets his personages, under 
pressure of varying moods, speak apparent contra- 
dictions, his aim being to present us a man mobile 


from feeling, not an argument built of consecutive 
dry facts for a judicial tribunal. The speech of 
Brutus to the other conspirators, " No, not an 
oath." Here are words aglow with a noble na- 
ture's purest fires, shooting into beautiful flames 
with the breath of poetic imagination. And his 
humane rebuke of the proposal that Antony fall 
with Caesar : — 

" Our course will seem too bloody, Caius Cassius. — 
We all stand up against the spirit of Caesar, 
And in the spirit of men there is no blood." 

No page even of Shakespeare throbs with a more 
truthful tenderness, a sweeter pathos, than the 
scene with Portia : — 

"0 ye Gods! 
Render me worthy of this noble wife." 

This drama is of heroic mould. With such 
historic stature and inward life are the personages 
indued by the creative mightiness of the poet, they 
move and speak like men whose being and function 
are exceptionally exalted. Contrasted with prosaic 
history, it is like wresting stiff jejune figures out 
of the tame sequence of an old bass-relief, to inter- 
mingle them in full, elastic, variegated movement. 

What an orator speaks under the name of An- 
tony. How easily the verse rises to the level of 
Caesar : — 

" Cowards die many times before their deaths ; 
The valiant never taste of death but once. 
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, 
it seems to me most strange that men should fear." 


" Danger knows full well 

ThatCaBsar is more dangerous than he." 

This great tragedy is a teeming abstract of the 
tumultuous epoch, — the short-sightedness of the 
conspirators, the fickleness and obtuseness of the 
mob, the cruel, cold selfishness of the triumvirs, the 
politic and military short-comings of Brutus and 
Cassius, — everywhere the insufficiency of men's 
foresight and will transparent beneath the invisible 
guidance above them, their stoutest purposes 
turned to futility and naught. 

Englishmen and Americans cannot put into 
words, cannot grasp in thought, their obligation 
to Shakespeare. Through the possession, the 
ever closer possession, for many generations, of 
his high thinking, his subtle insight, his clear, infal- 
lible intuition, these have come to be absorbed into 
the tissue of our race, congenitally immixed in our 
blood, mind of our mind. At birth we are stronger 
and better than we otherwise should have been, 
because among the constituents of the mental at- 
mosphere unconsciously breathed by our fathers 
and forefathers were the splendent intellectuality, 
the warm geniality, the large sweet humanity of 

Of the million of men living in London in 1825, 
but two are still alive to me, and much more alive 
to me now r than they were while on the earth, — 
Lamb and Coleridge, alive through that continuous 
communicable power which genius imparts to the 


higher intellect. I may have been a fellow-partaker 
with Lamb of one of the feasts nightly offered by 
Drury Lane and Covent Garden. I may have 
been seated near him ; and had his unfleshly face 
and person been pointed out to me, it were now a 
frequent pleasure to recall the bodily figure of one 
whose individuality and its literary fruit have been 
and are to me a gainful enjoyment. 

I incline to look upon the letters of Lamb — de- 
lightful and enduring as are the " Essays " — as his 
cardinal literary bequest. In diction as pure as 
those of Gray, they are more variously idiomatic, 
less external, and at the same time more sparkling 
than his, a more cordial revelation of the inner 
man, with a wider and more sympathetic range, 
coming as they do out of a deeper soul, and with 
an imaginative halo about them entirely wanting to 
those of Gray. In communing with Lamb through 
his letters you have a conviction of security, de- 
rived from the transparent trustworthiness of the 
writer's personality, a personality at once solid and 
ethereal, — solid from its upright manliness, ethereal 
from free irradiation and subtlest intellectual play. 
While garnished at times with the maddest mirth, 
his letters are steeped in the unfading charm of a 
rare humor, the more captivating from being en- 
twined with a rare moral culture. 

Had I met in London my friend Watson, from 
whom I parted on the Rhine, I should almost cer- 


tainly have seen Coleridge, and, having seen him 
and heard him talk, I should have been open to the 
fascination of his speech, and so possibly have 
become a weekly hearer of his great discourse, or 
even have gained the prerogative of more intimate 
pupilage ; for I had no specific purpose in going to 
Edinburgh, and, having since found in Coleridge so 
much that is food for me, I can believe that I 
might have been arrested, at least for some months, 
in the neighborhood of Highgate, and thus have 
found, what was not to be had at Goettingen, genial 
introduction into the boundless, beautiful domain 
of aesthetics and criticism. 

Lamb, with the significant playfulness character- 
istic of him, writes in one of his letters to Words- 
worth : — " Coleridge is absent but four miles, and 
the neighborhood of such a man is as exciting as 
the presence of fifty ordinary persons. ? T is 
enough to be within the whiff and wind of his 
genius for us not to possess our souls in quiet." 
De Quincey thus opens the first of the four papers 
of his " Literary Reminiscences " devoted to Cole- 
ridge : — "It was, I think, in the month of Au- 
gust, but certainly in the summer season, and 
certainly in the year 1807, that I first saw this 
illustrious man, the largest and most spacious intel- 
lect, the subtlest and most comprehensive, in my 
judgment, that has yet existed amongst men." 
Wordsworth said of him : — "I have known many 


men who have done wonderful things, but the only 
wonderful man I ever knew was Coleridge." And 
to these I add another, worthy to be classed with 
them, likewise a friend of Coleridge, our own All- 
ston. Visiting him in his studio at Cambridgeport 
in the year 1839, I purposely referred to his ac- 
quaintanceship with Coleridge. As though a light 
had been suddenly kindled in his brain, his spiritual 
face grew more spiritual, his eyes visionary, as if 
withdrawn from outward things by some great 
memory, and with voice lowered to a solemn key, 
he said: — " The greatest man that I ever ap- 

Although, of course, unable then to know and 
measure Coleridge as could these his matured illus- 
trious friends, so strong has since been my sym- 
pathy with his mind, and through that so great my 
obligations to him, that I am sure, had I in those 
young years come under the spell of the poet-sage, 
much would have been implanted in me, and I 
should have received an impulse which would have 
greatly advanced my culture. 

Through the capacity — not always possessed 
even by the potent — of giving hospitable enter- 
tainment to the ideas of others, and the capacity, 
still rarer, of generating ideas himself, Coleridge 
was one of the master-minds of his prolific, agitated 
era. Poet, thinker, dialectician, this mastery en- 
dures through a triune pow T er, so throbbing with 


thought and genius that the higher men imbibe 
strength from his contact. To Coleridge applies 
especially the term spacious of De Quincey, not 
solely because in the reverberating chambers of 
his splendid mind there was room for so much and 
such various knowledge, but because the themes he 
took up revolved in so wide an orbit, and were 
handled with a grasp so quick with spiritual life. 
Boundless is the plane of the spiritually-minded. 

Coleridge loves to circle in the upper air. His 
habits of thought are so high that he approaches 
his subject from above. He descends upon it with 
a vision made piercing and illuminating by sidereal 
ranges. It is not so much that you are instructed 
by his opinions and judgments — sound and fresh 
though these mostly be — as it is that your facul- 
ties are expanded by the vistas of thought dis- 
closed. He is ever throwing open shutters that 
lay suddenly bare new landscapes with broad fore- 
ground, and stretching afar to sun-lit reaches. 

He says of Burke : — u Burke felt how much 
his immediate power was lessened by the very cir- 
cumstance of his measureless superiority to those 
about him. He acted, therefore, under a perpet- 
ual system of compromise — a compromise of 
greatness with meanness ; a compromise of com- 
prehension with narrowness ; a compromise of the 
philosopher (who, armed with the twofold knowl- 
edge of History and the Laws of Spirit, as with a 


telescope, looked far around and into the distance) 
with the mere men of business, or with yet coarser 
intellects, who handled a truth, which they were 
required to receive, as they would handle an ox 
which they were desired to purchase." A mind 
of the finest needs, philosophically and morally of 
the largest calibre, will not w T arp and dwarf itself 
into such compromises. Coleridge himself would 
not have condescended to them. I think he over- 
rates Burke, who had, it seems to me, a fine Irish 
fervor rather than a deep, truth-solving warmth. 
Coleridge was more opulent in resources than 
Burke, and far more aspiring, and had a firmer 
setting in principles. His mind was more nour- 
ished by ideas. The prose of Coleridge has at 
times a swing and freedom as though it had been 
written in a state of exalted passiveness, as though, 
like his " Kubla Khan," it had been dictated by 
the invisibles. 

Through affluence in the nobler sensibilities, 
Coleridge is among the high moralists of literature. 
Yet an eminent critic, Mr. Matthew Arnold, in his 
admirable paper on Joubert, says of Coleridge : — 
" He had no morals . . . the disesteem, nay, repug- 
nance which his character may and must inspire." 
Coming from one, himself so w T orthy of admiration, 
these w r ords, when I first read them, caused me 
pain, followed by a flush of indignation. Mr. Ar- 
nold, and all of his generation who are so happily 


organized as to be within the direct sway of Cole- 
ridge's teachings, are under too strong and con- 
tinuous obligations to the truth-seeking thinker, 
the earnest Christian, that any one of them should 
clothe in these terms an adverse judgment. The 
relation of pupil to master should have softened 
the wording of such a judgment. But the judg- 
ment itself is harsh, and to my feeling unjust. 

The sins of Coleridge were sins of frailty, not 
sins of lust or pride. With all his splendid en- 
dowments, from defect of will he sinned against 
himself, and through himself against his fellow- 
men, curtailing them of the full fruit of his gor- 
geous gifts. But did he ever with selfish calcula- 
tion, or with any calculation, harness his great 
fluent abilities to a car that was to carry him into 
place or power ? Did he ever attempt to blacken 
the character or prospects of a contemporary with 
anonymous ink ? Was his bearing towards his 
poetic brethren distorted by envy or jealousy, or 
was he in any of his relations grudging and grasp- 
ing, striving to get and not to give ? Not only 
would he have prospered better, as lodger and 
diner, but he would have been less a mark for the 
shafts of contemporaneous calumny or of posthu- 
mous detraction, had he thought more of himself 
and his worldly interests ; for the world takes care 
of its own ; and it is more curious than comforting 
to observe, how ambitious self-seekers, if plausible 


and prudent, not merely attain their coarse ends 
of wealth, or fame, or power, but moreover, for a 
time at least, persuade contemporaries of their dis- 
interestedness. Coleridge lived so much in the 
higher sphere that for the lower he took not thought 
enough for himself and his. Amid soul-nourishing 
meditations the temporary needs were neglected. 

Lamb, in the letter to Wordsworth already 
quoted, thus alludes to the fatal opium : — " Cole- 
ridge is at present under the medical care of a 
Dr. Gilman (Killman ?) at Highgate, w r here he 
plays at leaving off laud — m. I think his essen- 
tials not touched. He is very bad, but then 
he wonderfully picks up another day, and his face, 
when he repeats his verses, hath its ancient glory ; 
an archangel a little damaged." De Quincey, 
while dealing very unreservedly w r ith the infirmities 
of Coleridge, speaks of his u gracious nature." 
He cites and blames the borrowings of Coleridge, 
— which, from the vast range of his reading, no 
one was more fitted to detect, — and says of the 
" Hymn to Chamouni," which he calls " an expan- 
sion of a short poem in stanzas upon the same sub- 
ject by Frederica Brun," that " by a judicious 
amplification of some topics, and by its far deeper 
tone of lyrical enthusiasm, the dry bones of the 
German outline have been created by Coleridge 
into the fulness of life." Whoever will take the 
trouble to look through a variorum edition of Mil- 


ton (not to speak of later lesser poets) will learn — 
somewhat, possibly, to his surprise — how frequent, 
and sometimes how direct, were his obligations to 
predecessors. A close search into Hollinshed, 
Plutarch, and the novels and tales current in the 
fifteenth and sixtenth centuries would reveal count- 
less passages that were u expanded " by Shakes- 
peare. In the course of his comment on the 
liberties taken by Coleridge with the pages of 
Schelling, De Quincey says : — " Coleridge spun 
daily and at all hours, for mere amusement of his 
own activities, and from the loom of his own magi- 
cal brain, theories more gorgeous by far, and sup- 
ported by a pomp and luxury of images, such as 
Schelling — no, nor any German that ever breathed, 
not Jean Paul — could have emulated in his 

That Coleridge, with his mental pockets full 
of gold, and with a mine in fee wherefrom he not 
only replenished his daily purse but enriched his 
neighbors, should now and then borrow a guinea, 
is a fact at which we should rather smile than 
frown, or, more fitly, pass by without special sen- 
sation, seeing what has been the practice of the 
highest, — a practice w T hich may, with full ethical 
assent, be regarded as a privilege inherent in their 
supremacy, the free use of all knowledge collected 
and experience acquired, no matter when, where, 
or by whom, being a natural right of him who has 


the genius to turn it to lest account. That in cer- 
tain cases where acknowledgment w T as due it was 
not made, we may ascribe to opium ; or to defects 
which broke the complete rotundity of such a circle 
of endowments that without this breach they would 
have swollen their possessor to almost preterhuman 
proportions, empowering him to " bestride the nar- 
row world like a Colossus." 

Let the truth be spoken of all men. Let no 
man's greatness be a bar to full utterance ; but let 
temperance and charity — duties peculiarly imper- 
ative when uttering derogatory truth — be espe- 
cially observed towards a resplendent suffering 
brother like Coleridge, suffering from his own weak- 
ness, but on that very account entitled to a tenderer 
consideration from those who are themselves en- 
dowed to feel and claim something more than 
common human affinity w T ith a nature so large and 
so susceptive. Could but a tithe of the fresh in- 
sights he has given us be allowed as an offset 
against his short-comings, never, from any scholar 
of sound sensibilities, would a whisper be heard 
against his name. Under the coarse, rusty, one- 
pronged spur of sectarian or political rancor, or 
from the gnawing consciousness of sterile inferiority 
to a creative mind, plenty of people are ready and 
eager to try, with their net-work of flimsy phrases, 
to cramp the play of a giant's limbs, or, with the 
slow slimy poison of envy and malice, to spot and 



deform his beauty and his symmetry. To such, to 
the half-eyed and the half-souled, to the prosaic and 
the unsympathetic, be left all harsh condemnation 
of Coleridge. 

For the living, not for the dead, are these inad- 
equate words spoken. The writings of Coleridge 
— in tone high, refined, noble ; in expression rich, 
choice, copious ; in spirit as pure as the sun's light; 
intellectually of rare breadth and mellowness and 
brilliancy — are a healthful power in literature, 
their influence solely for good, warming, strength- 
ening, elevating. As for Coleridge himself, his is 
an immortal name ; and as he walks through the 
ages, his. robes adjusting themselves with varying 
grace, in harmony with the mutations of opinion, 
his inward life will be ever fresh to his fellow-men, 
while his detractors will be shaken from him as 
gryllidce from the tunic of the superb Diana. 

Although not addicted to retrospective lamenta- 
tion, at times regret will come up that I can now 
look back to personal contact with Coleridge in 
1825 only as an unachieved possibility. Without 
then knowing its nearness or even existence, I 
passed close by a vein of finest metal, whence in 
later years I drew treasures, and which a turn in 
circumstances might have laid bare to me in glitter- 
ing presence. 

About the beginning of November I left London. 
Not having a companion to help me to see the 


much that was to be seen by the way, I made no 
division of the long route into comfortable stages, 
but booked myself direct for Edinburgh in the mail- 
coach, which, without stoppages, except for hurried 
meals, went through in forty hours. The journey 
of four hundred miles is almost a blank in my 
memory, and but for one or two incidents would 
have in it no place. At York, where we stopped 
for a meal, I ran to get a look at the great Minster, 
and when we passed the border between England 
and Scotland a Scottish fellow-passenger warned 
me to be careful now of my words when speaking 
to unwedded females, else, before I knew what I 
was saying, I might find myself married. 



"ITT HEN in Dresden with my uncle, the year 
^ ' before, we took tea with a lady whose son, 
and only child, was then in Edinburgh. His letters, 
from which she read us extracts, were as from one 
living in an Elysium. On the flood of her sym- 
pathy the mother was lifted beyond the dull realism 
of the Dresden day, to be borne to the happy 
shores of the Frith of Forth, where she enjoyed 
that purest state of human being which is attained 
by throwing one's self out of one's self into the life 
of another, — a state, by a blessed privilege, most 
attractively open to mothers, but which is reached 
even at a higher level than through self-merging in 
persons, when to the discovering of truth, and the 
exposition of the principles that are the robust off- 
spring of truth, the whole mind, without individual 
aims or temporary purpose, is disinterestedly dedi- 
cated, its best life absorbed into the object of pur- 
suit, the ego having the supreme happiness of be- 
coming means instead of end. 

Transition from Goettingen to Edinburgh being 
already in my thoughts as a possibility, our hostess 


— a lady of sprightliness of mind and geniality 
of manners — urged upon me the boarding-house 
which her son found so comfortable, writing down 
for me the address. The traveller to a new city 
knows what a lenitive it is to his feeling of strange- 
ness if along with him in his brain he brings his 
lodging, in shape of a picture of it hung there by 
some friend, especially if, as in this case, the pict- 
ure be of fairest colors. The morning after my 
arrival, walking out from the hotel, the long-cher- 
ished address led me into one of those streets in 
the " new town " that run eastward towards Leith, 
and, a little way down the slope, in a not unfash- 
ionable part of the city, I came readily upon the 
house. Finding a vacant room, I had my trunk 
brought, and was at once installed. 

It w T as a private boarding-house into which with- 
out testimonial I should probably not have been 
admitted. Besides the family there were but two 
other inmates, and no room for more. One was a 
lawyer, a writer to the signet, a quiet, sensible 
Scotsman, about five-and-thirty, of medium height 
and frame, a man of few words, whom I judged to 
be competent and trustworthy ; the other a wine- 
merchant, partner or agent of the great Frankfort 
firm of Mumm and Co., of about the same age and 
taller, — a restless, somewhat pretentious German, 
for a time domiciliated in Edinburgh, who was 
always ready to talk without having much to say. 


The mistress of the house was an elderly orderly 
widow, thin and active, an industrious noiseless 
housewife, with whom lived a son of about thirty, 
a lieutenant in the navy, unobtrusive, gentlemanly ; 
and a widowed daughter, two or three years 
younger, of good height and light figure, a clear 
brunette, with rich, black, abundant hair, large, 
soft, black eyes, and regular features put together 
in almost Grecian proportions, — a young woman 
of dazzling beauty. 

Here was the Sun that for the young Saxon 
baron had lighted up Edinburgh into an Elysium, 
had transfused with grace and benignity the entire 
population, with its warmth had so spelled the 
sights, sounds, odors of the CW-gate and the 
Cannon-gate that they seemed delectable and deli- 
cate, had even made the outpourings from upper 
stories (whereto late-walking innocents in the streets 
were still occasionally liable) odoriferous night-show- 
ers — such conjurers are the words and eyes of a 
beautiful woman. The hallucination was probably 
emblazed through the delight Nature has in ming- 
ling opposites of the same race, — thereby to 
freshen and strengthen the breeds of men, — the 
short with the tall, the nervous with the phlegmatic, 
the impulsive southern man with the deliberate 
northern, the Celt with the Teuton, and in this in- 
stance the fair-haired Saxon from the eastward of 
Europe with a sparkling brunette of the west. 


But man, with his wilfulness and his conventional- 
ities, is ever contravening and perverting the plans 
of Nature. Just after we left Dresden the mother 
received a hint from a friend in Edinburgh (but was 
he a friend of the human species ?) whereby the 
Caledonian Elysium was suddenly blotted from her 
imagination, and the Frith of Forth turned into an 
Acheron, " black and deep." Hurrying, with all 
the speed possible to those slow days, she arrived 
just in time to snatch her son's progeny from the 
jaws of heraldic destruction. 

To Edinburgh I brought with me two or three 
keys to open the gates that let a stranger into the 
precincts called " Society." And rightly so called ; 
for in a certain stage of civilization the social prin- 
ciple displays itself in a refined luxuriance of flower 
and fruit. People meet, not as they do in the 
market-place, or on " 'Change," or even as at a 
family-gathering, but for intercommunication along 
cords that are strung in a plane that lies above in- 
terests material, or personal, or professional. 

Political society, the organization of men into 
the State, could not come into being by a mere 
balancing of interest against interest. In the con- 
tinuous existence of a State is implied the presence, 
and not the presence merely, but the predominance 
at times, of feelings and wants that have a finer 
fibre than material needs, what I might term ge- 
neric, catholic feelings, — feelings that enlarge the 


enjoyer of them, enfranchising him from himself. 
The selfish, the individual impulses, man has in 
common with animals: the unselfish, the bountiful, 
are his exclusively : they constitute him man, and 
through them it is that he is empowered to build, 
for his protection and fortification, the State, — a 
vast compact social edifice, — and to ennoble and 
beautify it with institutions and creations which, 
flowing out of the spiritual, tend to uplift his being 
and to make his life on earth unanimal. 

This deep aspiring social principle, out of which 
grow r s the State, (the largest and highest combined 
creation of humanity, and the larger and higher 
according to the degree wherein it embodies a 
coordinated complexity,) and which draws men out 
of the little self into the large self, this finds its 
delicate expression, its bloom, so to speak, in what 
in common parlance is called " Society." 

Nor think because an egotist or a sensualist may 
sit high in this upper circle, or frivolity and vanity 
there flutter with scented silken wings, that there- 
fore this claimed superiority is a sham or a usurpa- 
tion. Though friends prove false or cold, friend- 
ship is a sacred certitude : deep and broad is 
humanity, though men are so often narrow and 
base. As some people are more muscular than 
others, some more courageous, some more compas- 
sionate, and as indeed inequality as well as diversity 
in gifts is one of the indispensable conditions for 


the progressive success of an extensive community, 
there are some in whom the elements are more 
finely mixed, with whom culture has so wrought on 
innate endowment, that they rise easily to the 
higher, the more spiritual, plane of life, and have 
their joy therein. Custom, inheritance, wealth, 
ambition give them as associates others in whose 
nature the descending are stronger than the ascend- 
ing affinities. But these Time is ever shedding 
back to the earth. The nerve, the lifting force in 
'• Society," is in men who have wide range of in- 
tellect, large sympathies, desire for thoughtful 
rather than sensuous enjoyment, — men who go out 
of themselves into Plutarch's men, or Shakespeare's, 
through whom cathedrals are built, and philoso- 
phies framed, and poems written, and einpires con- 
solidated, and the grandeurs of Art achieved. 

Canning used to say that at dinners lettered men 
were the best company, more acceptable than 
members of parliament or even ministers of state : 
there was better talk in them. Not book-makers 
did he mean, or even necessarily writers, but men 
who, like himself, love the finer literature for the 
delight it can give, and through that delight an 
inward power, — men whose knowledge of daily 
common life has been deepened and mellow T ed by 
knowledge of uncommon life, that, namely, registered 
by choicest spirits in expressions suitable to such 
registry, — men in whom culture is enriched by 


geniality. Unleavened by some of these, com- 
munities stagnate and have hardly a history. 
Charles Lamb's " Wednesday Evenings," the as- 
semblages at Holland House, the breakfasts and 
dinners of Rogers — had there not been present 
the stuff to make these renowned, " Society " in 
London in the first quarter of this century had 
been unworthy of its name. And it was in a 
measure unworthy of it ; that is, it was not the 
full expression, the bloom, of the deep social prin- 
ciple, because the men who made these meetings 
renowned, and who did so because they w T ere truly 
tjae elite of their generation, were not duly prized 
by those whose rank and wealth enabled them to 
make their houses the centres of social reunion. 
From the sensuous tone, from " the downward pull 
of sense " in aristocratic houses, there lacked ap- 
preciation of and sympathy with the genuine lead- 
ers, the men of insight and reach, at once the sap 
and the flower of social life. Coleridge, in whose 
tongue there was that could have awakened a lis- 
tening nerve even in the dull ear of fashionable 
apathy, whom it ought to have been felt a privilege 
to be allowed to caress, for whom the choice of the 
high-born and the high-placed should have been 
brought together to do honor to with delighted ears 
and deferential admiration, — Coleridge was neg- 

De Quincey relates the wrath of a friend of his, 


a wit and capital talker, who happening to call on 
Young, the actor, (a second-rate performer, who 
forty years ago played first parts on the London 
boards,) " was left to cool my heels for some time 
in a room where were strewed on a table for scenic 
effect, cards of invitation to dinner-parties of gran- 
dee Lords by the dozen, and to the balls, routs, 
soirees, of countesses, ambassadresses and duch- 
esses by the score, — ay, and all falling within a 
few days, — more than ever I shall have in my whole 
life." A man, refined and scholarly, of high taste 
in life as well as in books, would not care to waste 
himself upon the dinners and routs of earls and 
duchesses whose emptiness sounds so tuneless 
through the noise made about an ephemeral noto- 
riety. But in a better-conditioned " upper ten," 
a circle would have formed itself where the tone 
would have been given, not by the vain, who live 
on the light laborious follies of fashion, but by 
people of some mental aspiration and solidness, and 
where, therefore, the w T ell-read and the well-in- 
formed, the polished man of heart, the modest 
scholar, would all feel themselves warmed by con- 
geniality, and not — as in mere fashionable assem- 
blages — chilled by indifference and silenced by 
superficiality. Fashion is apt to despotize over 
" Society," vulgarizing and sensualizing it. Such 
a circle would rebuke and discredit Fashion, and 
for its physically and mentally unwholesome prac- 


tices. tend to substitute purer desires and moods 
more manly. 

Legare, — at once an eminent lawyer and a lit- 
erary student, who with a full accomplished mind 
was an admirable talker, — coming back to the 
hotel from a dinner-party one evening in New 
York, thirty years ago, on being addressed — " You 
have had a capital dinner?" answered — " The 
dinner was good enough, but what people they ask 
to meet you." The fact probably was, that no- 
body had been asked to meet him, but his arrival 
in town having been heard of, he had been added 
to a company already invited. To make such a 
man a guest in an uneducated circle is an incon- 
gruity amounting almost to ill-breeding. A host 
may take a fancy to have a table full of million- 
aires ; but suppose that from caprice, or misdirect- 
ed good- will, or ostentation, a chair on the same day 
be given to a thought- whittling transcendentalist or 
a poet of the extreme ideal school, his talk — if 
his tongue could find speech in such an atmosphere 
— would sound to the other guests like the cry of 
migratory wild geese high over head, invisible in 
the dark autumn evening, and to him theirs would 
be as indigestible as bacon and beans to a butterfly. 
To bring such opposites together for mutual enter- 
tainment in close, inevitable proximity, were to both 
an indirect impertinence. To invite guests with 
utter disregard of any principle of assortment is a 


kind of disrespect. Some of the art expended in 
getting up a feast should be given to the choice 
and juxtaposition of the feasters, and not all of it 
to that of the dishes. The diners should be com- 
posed as well as the dinner. Pell-mell dinners, 
debt-paying dinners, are capital things for people 
who want to eat a good meal, but they have no 
place in the chapter of social aesthetics. The 
German students have a somewhat contemptuous 
phrase to describe the miscellaneous crowded enter- 
tainments occasionally given them by the professors. 
They call one of these eine allgemeine abfuette- 
rung — " a general feed." At such a feast there 
is a livelier flow of abdominal than of cerebral 

The word educated I use in its widest sense, not 
limiting it to B. A.'s or M. A.'s, or to literary or 
scientific proficiency. Some men are better edu- 
cated by converse and travel than some others by 
much reading. Artists, genuine artists, with little 
aid from books, have the best kind of education, 
that, namely, given by thoughtful productive prac- 
tice under the inward light of the beautiful. Their 
minds become flexible and full through their high 
strenuous work, which puts their whole being into 
disciplinary motion. Practical men, too, whose 
range is in the broader provinces of endeavor, 
leaders in large undertakings, civil or military, 
get cultivated by action. It will be found, how- 


ever, that, besides having had early training and 
initiatory nurture at some academic institution, the 
most alert of these have been too expansible, too 
wakeful, to keep their intellects and their hearts 
closed against the subtle spiritual authority of good 
books. Let all bethink them that, mind ruling on 
earth as in heaven, giving breadth and depth and 
buoyancy to communities, naught else but mind, 
mind schooled, enlightened, expanded, ripe not 
raw, can give interest, diversity, tone, dignity to 
social converse. Gorgeous upholstery in palatial 
apartments, perpetual profuseness in silks, laces, 
jewelry, the predominance of titles and privilege, 
all this smothers, deadens " Society." In the glare 
of thought coronets grow spectral and unreal ; in 
the sparkle of wit diamonds even are lustreless. 

On the other hand, the literary element will not 
necessarily purify and polish ; for literature, like 
" Divinity," can be made a trade of, people work- 
ing in it for bread, or fame, or power. There is a 
lower and a higher literature. Of the higher Jou- 
bert is the most perfect type I know. Devoting 
his life to letters, he yet published nothing ; but so 
enriched and refined was he spiritually and intel- 
lectually through this devotion that he became, by 
means of speech, the illuminator of the best writers 
of his time. But although literature, thus pur- 
sued, purges and tempers and elevates, while it 
intellectualizes the pursuer, literary men even of 


the higher class are not at all times the best com- 
pany. From mobility and sensitiveness they are 
liable to be untuned, to vibrate discordantly. The 
meeting of many of them together in mixed society 
seems to relax rather than to tighten their cords, 
or to tighten them too much for music. Jealousies, 
diffidences, reserves, so cool their fires that they 
give out no more light than the unilluminated. 
Moore, in his " Diary," mentions a London dinner 
where, besides himself, were present Wordsworth, 
Campbell, Crabbe, and other metrical magnates. 
Expectation was at fault to depict the interest and 
brilliancy of the party. It turned out downright 
heavy. Moore's last words about it are, " it was 
dreary enough." 

When a youth under twenty, De Quincey, 
through his mental precociousness and his knowl- 
edge of Greek, had access to a literary coterie in 
Liverpool, members of which were Mr. Roscoe, the 
biographer of Lorenzo dei Medici ; Dr. Currie, the 
biographer of Burns ; Mr. Clarke, the travelled 
cultivated friend of Roscoe, and others of local 
literary name. But the soul of the meetings was 
a tailor. De Quincey says : — "It was a striking 
illustration of the impotence of mere literature 
against natural power and mother-wit, that the only 
man who was considered indispensable in these 
parties, for giving life and impulse to their vivacity, 
was a tailor ; and not, I was often assured, a per- 


son deriving a designation from the eraft of those 
whose labors he supported as a capitalist, but one 
who drew his own honest daily bread from his own 
honest needle, except when he laid it aside for 
drooping literati, who needed to be watered by his 
wit." Were there in social usages and arrange- 
ments more freedom and cordiality, human inter- 
course on its higher plane would be oftener enliv- 
ened through men of this stamp by jets from the 
deep fresh springs of Nature. 

The tempting invitations of this topic, if yielded 
to, would lead me into a lengthened untimely essay. 
This only will I add, that the refinement, the 
adornment, the enlargement of the wants and 
habits which is implied in the existence of what 
has got to be designated " Society," is due chiefly 
to a broad, expansive, yet subtle feeling, which is 
one of the humanizers and amplifiers of man, 
namely, to the sensibility to the beautiful. It was 
observed by the phrenologists, that people who 
swing themselves up out of a lower social sphere 
into the highest have a large development of what 
in their nomenclature is termed the organ of ideal- 
ity. The faculty which gives buoyancy and beauty 
to the conceptions of Shakespeare and Milton, 
which makes their work new and elastic, which 
makes it, in one word, creation, is the same that 
animates the higher social intercourse. In a 
really " good Society" the poetic element in hu- 


man nature combines with the moral and intellect- 
ual to give grace and elegance to the substantial 
and the worthy. But there is ever a proneness — 
especially in the shifting generations of our change- 
ful country — to disanimate society through the 
frivolities and vulgarities of fashion and the sensu- 
alities of expenditure. Like the suffocating effect 
of covering the body with soft wet plaster, lux- 
urious externalities and superficialities stop up the 
moral pores whose free open function is essential to 
the play of intellect and heart. 

After the union of Scotland with England, the 
only privilege of a capital left to Edinburgh was the 
independent Scottish Judiciary. Socially speak- 
ing this was much ; a body disciplined and cultivated 
as would be the judges and lawyers of an intelli- 
gent, strong-headed people — an important seg- 
ment of the united realm — forming a solid intel- 
lectual nucleus. Another good element was the 
University. In 1825 Sir Walter Scott was clerk 
in one of the courts, and John Wilson a professor 
in the University. 

In a city, exempt from the undulations and pal- 
pitations of either commercial or manufacturing 
growth, this combined influence would be the more 
pervasive. In Edinburgh there was, and had been 
for several generations, a quiet tone of culture. 
From what I saw and heard, general social meet- 
ings were neither frequent nor crowded. Every 



day was not a feast-day ; and for this the social 
current was the clearer. In large national or com- 
mercial capitals social conflux, by its unintermitted 
rapidity, ploughs into its continents and makes it- 
self turbid. In Edinburgh the social stream was 
not cumbered by men who spend their lives in car- 
rying the burden of their wealth; nor by others 
who spend theirs in carrying that of hereditary 
rank, which is mostly obstructive and oppressive 
to themselves as well as to their neighbors. The 
titled and landed Grandees of Scotland had long 
since gravitated to the vast British capital at the 
south. An unwilling; resident of Edinburgh was an 
earl, a bachelor scion of a noble house (said to be 
lineally descended from Shakespeare's Macduff), 
who for some seasons had been a companion of the 
regal voluptuary George IV., when Regent, and 
in that luxurious interlude had so damaged his 
rental that he was now cast back upon his native 
Caledonian shore — a wreck left by the fluctuating 
floods of fashion to bleach and crumble on the 
lonely sands of provincialism. He was then well 
past fifty, stout, with a certain breadth of bearing 
and flowing showy style of dress, a not uncomely 
man, who would be best described in the words of 
a witty friend 2 of mine, who said of some one that 
he was " the residuum of a thousand good dinners." 
One day at a dinner-party an elderly gentleman 

1 The late John L. H. McCracken, of New York. 


broke forth — apropos to nothing that had been 
said — in a eulogy of Jefferson. I account for 
the abruptness and zeal of his allocution — for he 
addressed himself directly to me — by supposing 
that a life-long admiration had been re-warmed by 
the presence opposite of a countryman of the great 
American democrat ; and that its utterance was 
encouraged by the belief that he would have a 
more sympathetic hearer than he could often find 
among educated Britons. Such an address, made 
to me, was a happy illustration of the profit of 
travel. Jefferson I had not only never heard 
praised, but hardly even named, by those I looked 
up to, but to be dispraised, and sometimes in 
phrases culled from that vigorous vocabulary the 
unshackled circulation of which is one of the tokens 
of freedom, and which when applied to our public 
men seems to make them grow, as does summer 
succulents the dirt heaped about them in June by 
the gardener. To the animated eulogist I made 
no reply, and if I did not accept all he said I 
received it passively, and carried away a new 
image of Jefferson, and an image which the same 
words from an American adherent would not have 
stamped : I was made impressible by the foreignness 
and remoteness of the speaker. 

On another occasion, at an evening party, a 
Colonel in the British army, a Catholic, and married 
into one of the titled Catholic families of England, 


after some conversation about America, announced 
to me that in a few years we should have in the 
United States a military despotism. I say an- 
nounced, for he spoke in that steady absolute tone 
he would have used to impart an incident the 
certainty of whose occurrence had reached him by 
private channel some hours earlier than its public 
promulgation through the post-office. This gentle- 
man was the victim (and he has many fellows) of 
an interior domestic conspiracy, his religion, his 
profession, his social position and associations, all 
conspiring to pervert him on this subject from the 
conclusions of common sense and humanity, and to 
make him the persistent dupe of hopes and beliefs 
as flimsy as they were uncharitable. Such people 
believe against evidence, hope against history. To 
him the annual falsification was but an annual 
postponement of his expectations ; and should he 
happen to have survived to the present day, his 
life through our four years of civil war will have 
been an incessant tremor of disappointment ; and to 
him the success of the United States in maintaining 
its integrity against so gigantic a rebellion will 
have seemed a calamitous catastrophe — a success 
which involved in large measure the political liber- 
ties of Christendom for many generations. He was 
one of that class of heady, wilful, unballasted men 
who keep their hopes and opinions in a state of 
boneless babyhood by allowing them to be the 
playthings of their wishes. 


At Goettingen I had heard frequently of the Uni- 
versity of Edinburgh ; in Edinburgh I heard little 
of it, and from personal experience learnt nothing. 
The only use I put it to was to attend a popular 
course of lectures on Chemistry, given by one of 
its professors, Dr. Hope, a large, portly man, 
dressed with refined finish, of a fluent, graceful 
delivery, and celebrated for his chemical manipula- 
tions in the lecture-room. His numerous audience 
was made up chiefly of ladies, to whom was due 
the presence of most of the other sex. Popular 
lectures when good, as these were, are efficient 
light-horse auxiliaries to the trained army of con- 
quest over ignorance. Knowledge, coming out of 
the core of the mind, is the seed which perpetuates 
that whereof it is the product, and, as with vegetable 
prolification, a dozen grains are not thrown in vain 
to the wind if but two or three fall where they can 
take root. 

The theatre of Edinburgh keeps a place in my 
memory through Mathews. He had just returned 
from his first visit to America, and was coining 
guineas out of this new harvest of fun. He opened 
with words to the following effect: — " Should there 
be any Americans present I beg that they will not 
take otherwise than in good part my attempt to 
entertain you this evening. I am going to treat 
them as I have often treated the Scotch, the Irish, 
and the English themselves " There spoke the 


gentleman ; and it was the refinement of nature 
implied in such an opening that gave to the per- 
formances of Mathews their unique excellence. 
They were the poetry of the droll and risible. In 
my mind he has ever since lain embalmed in those 

I can never forget his entrance on the stage as 
an American just arrived in England. With a 
very long cigar in his mouth, on his head a white, 
very broad- brimmed hat, dressed with a loose, 
careless, somewhat showy individuality, he was 
followed by a huge negro — blacker than any ink 
that I can buy — bearing on his shoulders his 
master's trunk. The American has just arrived 
at a nobleman's seat, and mistakes the servants' 
hall for the drawing-room. To the butler, whom 
he supposes to be my lord, he addresses loud, 
rapid comments on England, delivered with a free- 
and-easy disregard of place and person, which to 
the formal obsequious butler is the same thing as 
impudence. Warming with the self-complacency 
kindled by the comparison he draws between 
England and America, he rises to an impassioned 
panegyric on liberty, than which a finer sample of 
the " spread-eagle" style was never offered by the 
most magniloquent of fourth of July orators. Ab- 
ruptly he stops, subsides suddenly in manner and 
expression, walks up to the gaping butler, and in 
the equable tone of earnest business and with the 


shrewdest of looks addresses him : — "Do you want 
to buy a nigger ? " 

Mathews related, and evidently had pleasure in 
relating, an incident that occurred to him in Bal- 
timore. The first morning after his arrival a 
physician, to whom he had no letter of introduction, 
called on him, made particular inquiries about his 
health and dietetic habits, paid a short visit and took 
his leave. The next morning the visit was repeated, 
and was so every day during his sojourn. Suppos- 
ing this to be a custom of the place, Mathews, on 
the day of his departure, offered his visitor a fee. 
This, with a smile, the Doctor declined, saying to 
him, " I must now explain to you the cause of my 
daily visit. There have been some cases of yellow 
fever in our city, and as I knew that this would be 
kept from you, I felt it a duty to see that you, a 
stranger and a public man, should not suffer from 
the concealment." . 

A young traveller should be peremptorily direct- 
ed to see certain things and persons, purely as 
subjects of reminiscence — as deposits in the mind 
whereon the memory through life will pay a div- 
idend. I went only once to the court of which Sir 
Walter Scott was clerk, to get a look at the au- 
thor of Waverley, and that week he was absent 
beside the sick-bed of his dying wife. It were now 
a pleasant memory had I attended some of the 
lectures of Wilson. Jeffrey I saw but once, and 


then only in passing, as he was pointed out to me 
in the " outer house," or large vestibule to the 
courts in Edinburgh. With the will to know them 
I could have been introduced to both ; and I now 
regret not to have made the slight effort necessary ; 
for they helped forward their contemporaries, albeit 
they are not men to whose words one has recourse 
as to self-preserved stores of that inexhaustible 
fund supplied by the very few who are created to 
hearken so intently for truth that her throb tunes 
their best motions. May not this power of spirit- 
ual auscultation be the chief token of genius ? In 
a critique, in I think the u North British Review," 
on occasion of the Memoir of Wilson by his daugh- 
ter, he was finally characterized, with justice it 
seems to me, as a rhapsodist. And Jeffrey, quick, 
clever, versatile, had not the breadth and weight 
and fine verity for permanent literary mastership. 
On his page are kindled no fires to which after- 
generations can go back to light their torches. 
His blaze was for his generation ; and a timely 
blaze it was that he and Sidney Smith and their 
venturous fellows flared over the British realm at 
the beginning of the century through the " Edin- 
burgh Review," making visible and detestable 
many a monstrosity and tyranny of wrinkled cus- 
tom and usurping privilege. 

My companion in the " outer house " related the 
following anecdote. A young lawyer, a protege 


of Jeffrey, a minor point of law having in the course 
of a trial been decided against him, had told the 
Judges with warmth that he was astonished at their 
decision. Hereupon the Bench refused to let him 
proceed, until he should have made them an apol- 
ogy. This he declined to do, and hastened out to 
find his friend. Jeffrey, on hearing the statement, 
said : " Leave the matter to me, I '11 make an apol- 
ogy for you "; and accompanying his irate colleague 
into the court-room, addressed the Judges as fol- 
lows : — " My Lords, I am exceedingly sorry that 
my young friend here has allowed his temper to get 
the better of his tongue. He is young and unprac- 
ticed, and I beg that you will ascribe his hasty 
words to inexperience. For his future - behavior I 
will answer ; and I take on me to assure the Bench 
that when he shall have known your Lordships as 
long as I have, he will not be astonished at any 
decision you may make." 

Into the saying of this there went a quick wit, 
but the wit we should never have had but that the 
sayer was a man of still more face than wit. Lord 
Bacon has an essay on boldness, showing what it 
can do and why it can do it. Bacon calls that 
boldness which, using a term more blunt and also 
more discriminative, we now call impudence. As 
affairs are yet managed on our earth, impudence is 
not so much the opposite of a virtue as its etymol- 
ogy might purport, and many things which, for the 


benefit no less than the amusement of men, ought 
to be said and done, would be left unsaid and un- 
done but for that semi-shameless, procacious quality 
which prompts some to throw themselves forward 
when others hold back, — out of respects that for 
this saucy world are too dainty. The impudent 
help to keep the ball a-going, often picking it out 
of the dirt where cleanly hands would not reach 
for it. Thus they may be said to sacrifice them- 
selves for the general weal ; and although their 
motives be almost always personal and selfish, the 
results are sometimes public and good. * 

In the famous article on Wordsworth's Excur- 
sion, — the first in No. 24 of the " Edinburgh Re- 
view,'' beginning " This will never do," — is exhib- 
ited but one of the two qualities so conspicuous in 
the speech to the court. The audacity stands in bold, 
shivering loneliness, uncountenanced, unwarmed by 
wit. As criticism the judgment given has long 
since been reversed in a superior court. Moreover, 
the article is self-condemned, being curiously self- 
contradictory. On page 2 you read : — " The case 
of Mr. Wordsworth, we perceive, is now manifestly 
hopeless." Page 3 : — " And making up our minds, 
though with the most sincere pain and reluctance, 
to consider him as finally lost to the good cause of 
poetry, we shall endeavor to be thankful for the 
occasional gleams of tenderness and beauty which 
the natural force of his imagination and affections 


must still shed over all his productions" The 
lines I have italicized are inconsistent with the 
" hopelessness " of Mr. Wordsworth's case, and 
with the following on page 4: — "The volume 
before us, if we were to describe it very shortly, 
we should characterize as a tissue of moral and 
devotional ravings, in which innumerable changes 
are rung upon a few very simple and familiar 
ideas : — but with such an accompaniment of long 
w r ords, long sentences, and unwieldy phrases ; and 
such a hubbub of strained raptures and fantastical 
sublimities, that it is often extremely difficult for 
the most skilful and attentive student to obtain 
a glimpse of the author's meaning ; and altogether 
impossible for an ordinary reader to conjecture w T hat 
he is about." TWard the close of the article, 
after many passages " of interest or beauty which 
we have quoted, and [or] omitted to quote," the 
reviewer w T rites on page 29 : — " When w 7 e look 
back to them, indeed, and to the other passages 
which we have now extracted, we feel half inclined 
to rescind the severe sentence which we passed 
on the work at the beginning." And this — had 
he been able to read aright these very passages, 
that is, with imaginative insight — he would have 
done. But the sin of the article is in its tone, a 
tone in which no high pure criticism can be written. 
To characterize this needs plain words. It must 
be called conceited, malapert. It is that tone 


which is so imitable and is so much imitated, 
because it is a mask readily handled to hide shal- 
lowness and lack of native resource. Now Jeffrey 
was neither shallow nor lacking in resource — ex- 
cept when he undertook to confront critically a 
great imaginative Poet : this was a task above his 
powers ; and, through the flippant arrogance of 
this paper and in the very folds of its assumed ease, 
there is discernible a semi-consciousness of his 
inadequacy. His was not a mind to accompany 
Wordsworth as he mounts on the strong steady 
pinion of an idealizing thoughtfulness, lifting trite 
themes into the empyrean of poetic meditation to 
make them shine with unexpected lustre. His was 
not a mind into which flow 

The tides of full emotion, swelling deep 

The raptured brain, and brimming thoughtful eyes 

That outward glow with visionary joy. 

Few are the minds of this calibre and compo- 
sition, and none others are competent critics of 
highly imaginative poetry, on its first appearance. 
When such poetry has been long before the public, 
and has in some measure " created the taste where- 
by it is to be judged," then critics of less original 
gift become so disciplined as to cope with it. The 
Poems of Byron and Scott were pretty fairly 
estimated the year they were published : those of 
Wordsworth and Shelley not for many years. 

So much easier, and thence more common, is it 


to reproduce from the memory than to produce 
from the imagination, that most writing, verse as 
well as prose, is but the former, each reproduction 
modified — in the best cases freshened — by the 
individuality of the writer. Critics, writing under 
the same tyranny of memory as other pen-wielders, 
when original work comes before them few can 
appreciate and the most are even repelled from it ; 
and not until its worth has been stamped by those 
minds which, having in themselves creative power, 
put themselves instantly into friendly relation with 
originality, does the circle of clever critics, and the 
general mass who adhere to them, accept the reve- 
lation of new thought and beauty. 

I had spent in Edinburgh an aimless, rather idle 
winter, reading but not studying. What a young 
man, especially one who has in him any literary 
faculty, at that age needs, is helpful fellow-feeling, 
— a somebody, ahead of him in years, to feel with, 
for having himself felt, his wants, aspirings, mis- 
givings, imaginings, hesitancies, hopes, doubts. But 
out of a score is there one whose fortune throws 
upon him the blessing of such a friend ? not to 
repress and prohibit, but on the contrary a Mentor 
trustful, far seeing, who will inspirit his boldness, 
will fan his enthusiasm, encourage his audacities, 
if they have sprouted, and if they have not, tempt 
them out with judicious sympathy. But the cul- 
ture of a man for his own high sake, for the best 


there is in him, this is not the aim of the institutions 
and influences which a youth entering life finds 
about him : these aim to fit every one to be a 
worldling who will help the world forward in its 

Lacordaire, in his " Conferences de Toulouse," 
has a beautiful passage on spirituality and poverty : 
" God, w T ho toward man has been prodigal of 
spiritual gifts, who has put no bounds to peace, 
love, heavenly blessedness — an infinite treasure 
whence each of us may draw at will, God has 
shown himself grudging of material goods. Food 
and raiment he has measured to us with a parsi- 
mony which would be frightful, had it not its cause 
in what I have said of the blessedness of poverty, 
and if there were not in material abundance a viva- 
cious principle of corruption." As easy were it 

" to hold a fire in his hand 
By thinking on the frosty Caucasus," 

as for a man who keeps a bank-book to believe in 
the blessedness of poverty. How will you convince 
him that fresh dividends are wormy ? Insolently 
deaf is he to the text which declares that it is hard 
for a rich man to enter the kingdom of Heaven, — 
a text profound, faithful, implying, as it does, the 
tyranny, acquired by habit, of the sensuous over 
the supersensuous, the rich man's thoughts, feel- 
ings, acts, becoming in most cases absorbed either 


in the getting and piling of the grosser materials 
of life or in spending what has been piled for him. 

" The world is too much with us; late and soon, 
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers ; 
Little we see in Nature that is ours ; 
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon I " * 

On the other hand, the poor — those at least 
whose lot is cast above tropical or semi-tropical 
latitudes — are so pressed by the divine parsimony 
in material goods, that, like the mammonish gold- 
heaper, their best life is necessarily absorbed in 
getting food, lodging, and raiment ; and by this 
pressure the more weakly organized of them are 
crushed into vice and crime, making a beginning 
of hell here on earth — a pendant to that made at 
the other end of the scale by the rich sensualist. 

Nor is it easy for a rich man to enter the king- 
dom of Literature, that is, the upper kingdom ; for, 
the aggressive materiality and worldliness engen- 
dered by money or worldly power, which film the 
spiritual vision, darken or obstruct the poetic. 
Had Shakespeare, in place of Sir Thomas Lucy, 
been born the proprietor of Charlecote, would the 
world have enjoyed what is now its greatest literary 
possession ? Had Dante, instead of being discom- 
fited and exiled, been, from his thirty-fifth to his 
fifty-fifth year the triumphant chief of the Tuscan 
Ghibellines, ruling Florence with the vigor and 

* Wordsworth. 


talent and patriotism which must have shone in his 
administration, Tuscany might have prospered and 
predominated, but Italy and Christendom had been 
impoverished by the want of the Divina Comedia, 
truly, in another sense than that he named it, a 
divine piece of human work. Deeply set out of 
sight are the springs of human motion, have subtle 
untraceable activities and torpors, elasticities intan- 
gible, incalculable. 

De Quincey, when he was already well entered 
on manhood, lost, through generosity and unthrifti- 
ness, his patrimony. Surely what was the cause 
of a blessing to his generation and many following 
generations, cannot be deemed a misfortune to 
himself. The loss thrust him back on his large 
dormant resources ; and fecundities, w^hich in the 
De Quincey of eight hundred pounds a year would 
have only borne flowers to beautify and perfume a 
private circle, have in the penniless De Quincey 
yielded a score of the best volumes of English prose. 

One refuses to believe that a lofty nature like 
Milton could have been buried under a pile of gold, 
however huge ; but if not utterly smothered, his 
deep pure breathing could not but have been ob- 
structed and fouled in an atmosphere of material 
superabundance. As it was, by the pressure of 
external circumstances the poetic voice was hushed 
in him for a very long period ; and while we honor 
and revere the earnest gifted man who to the cause 


of freedom dedicated nineteen years of life, taken 
right out of his middle manhood, and while we 
immensely prize the practical cooperation of such 
men, enriching as they do by their active presence 
the meagreness, and ennobling the meanness, of 
ordinary politics, we yet cannot help thinking 
(albeit retrospective plaint is the emptiest of idle- 
ness) that in those marrowy years such a genius 
might have wrought what would be still more 
precious than even his grand sonorous prose. 
When Uhland was elected to the Chambers of 
Wirtemberg, Goethe said: — "Many a man will 
make as good or a better legislator* than he, but 
Germany has but one Uhland the poet." 

In the dazzling constellation of recent British 
genius there is not a wealthy member. Scott 
began poor, and when, through his facile fertile pen, 
his annual income grew to many thousands, he fell 
a victim to riches and the earthly ambition they 
stimulated. Literature has no more sorrowful spec- 
tacle than the stalwart upright man in his latter 
days, the spirit heaving against the w r eight laid on 
it by the flesh, — an unnatural, unbearable struggle, 
from which the spirit soon freed itself, to go up to 
where there are no baronial families to be founded, 
no tempting commercial partnerships, no mislead- 
ing popularities. Byron, born in the station of 
Wordsworth, would have been called a man of 
means, and what had been the result, poetically or 



unpoetically, it is not easy to estimate in one so 
wayward, violent, ill-balanced. But Byron was 
not a rich yeoman, and he was a poor lord. How 
twenty or thirty thousand pounds a year for the 
peer to spend would have modified or diluted the 
poet one can hardly say ; but we may believe that 
wilfulness, self-indulgence, and worldly ambition, 
would have run into the artificial channels scooped 
by torrents of gold, and that the poetical outcome 
of his life would have been less than it was. Poetic 
genius, when strong in a strong nature, will, against 
outward hindrances, burn itself a vent ; but it 
must have air to breathe, and our position is, that 
if the air be loaded with effluvia from the rankness 
of worldly power or worldly expenditure, it is not 
a fit medium for the clear musical voice of the 
higher literature. Poetry, however strong and 
spontaneous its flow, requires for its due embodi- 
ment strenuous, concentrated, conscientious work ; 
and men, beset by the opportunities and flatteries 
of luxury and sensual enjoyment, become unbraced 
for this sort of close self-merging effort. A born 
poet, nursed in a hovel, will much more surely 
surmount the obstacles to his poetic growth incident 
to that birth than he will those that would confront 
him in a palace. 

Wordsworth, Moore, Coleridge, Campbell, Keats, 
were all poor. Wordsworth, from his early to his 
middle manhood, had a succession of windfalls ; as 


if the Muses had plead with Providence to insure 
against the impediments of a pinching poverty one 
who began life by formally dedicating to their 
highest service his whole rare being, and who with 
all his gift — and perhaps partly on account of its 
elevation and purity — would not for long years 
draw from his verse much pecuniary meed. Cole- 
ridge was too poor ; and how could he ever be so 
commonplace prosaic as to make money — the wide- 
ranging, sublime, uncompromising seer and talker. 
But he had kind friends — blessed be their mem- 
ory — and among the earliest the Wedgewoods, 
who settled on him an annuity, which was a steady 
stay to him through life, and for which their names 
will shine in literary annals long after the last plate 
of their famous ware shall have crumbled. Shel- 
ley, though heir-apparent to a rich baronetcy, never 
had, during his too brief manhood, more than a 
thousand pounds a year ; and this, with his giving 
nature, was only enough to loose him from the 
galling yoke of uncongenial work, leaving his 
aspiring tendencies free to obey their bent. But 
him it is harder than any other to conceive of as 
subdued or disabled by gold. 

Goethe's father designed him for the law ; but 
as easy were it to suppress in an Arab courser all 
gaits but the walk, as to have made the main cur- 
rent of Goethe's life run in the slow conventional 
channel of German jurisprudence. The irrepres- 


sible creative power burst forth early in Goetz and 
Werther ; and the precocious judgment and pro- 
phetic instinct of the young Duke of Weimar 
(scarcely twenty years of age) seizing upon the 
author as a helper and friend, Goethe found 
himself in the at once studious and active retire- 
ment of Weimar, free to follow the leadings of his 
dilating adventurous mind. The death of his 
father brought him in after years a patrimony, 
which in Frankfort would have been a snug 
burgher's portion. Goethe's troubles came from 
within. The richer the organization, the greater 
the liability to internal conflicts. Men of wide 
sympathies and fine temperament suffer through 
their susceptibilities — secret inward sufferings, 
unknown often to those nearest to them. For the 
full play of his genius Goethe had what he needed, 
— a certain ease as to outward things. This he 
needed more than Schiller who, with less disturb- 
ance from inward causes, was at the same time 
less hindered by straightened circumstances than 
Goethe would have been. But for Weimar's 
noble Duke, the illustrious Carl August, Schiller 
might have been so straightened that his poetic 
grow T th would have been stunted. As it w T as, he 
was compelled to expend on mere bread-w T ork (to 
use a German phrase) more nervous fluid than was 
wholesome. To be sure, he never was reduced to 
the straits of poor Coleridge, who at one time had 


to write sermons to sell, a stipulation in the con- 
tract being that they must be kept intellectually 
down near the dull level of the buyers, who were 
to preach them as their own. Think of that as a 
morning's task for a Coleridge ! Think of a sur- 
charged thundercloud commanded to withhold its 
lightning ! 


From Edinburgh to Paris. 

On Monday the 22d of May 1826, an hour 
after sunrise, I was on board the steam-packet 
Brilliant, bound from Leith to Aberdeen. We 
hugged the shore, not on account of its beauty, 
for, with brief exception, it was notably flat and 
barren. Arriving at six I put up at Dempster's 
Hotel, where from the friend, on whose invitation I 
had come to the north of Scotland, I found a note 
saying he would drive in for me the next day. 
This was Colonel Wood (now General Sir William 
Wood) of the British army, who, having been 
wounded at the battle of Bladensburg in 1814, was 
left in the village on the hasty retreat of the invad- 
ing army after the capture of Washington, and 
whose nature made him believe that for some kind- 
ness shown him by several families of the neigh- 
borhood he never could be sufficiently grateful. 

I had time before supper to view the town, get 
a look at the County Hall, note the rich shops of 
Union Street, and the air of material prosperity, 
and to fancy that the physiognomies of the people 
were more pleasing than those of Edinburgh. Per- 


haps they were only different. After a supper of 
lobster and haddock I had toddy and talk with two 
or three sociable Scotchmen, who prefaced their 
first draught with the standing local toast — " The 
town and trade of Aberdeen." 

Colonel Wood resided near Banchory, a small 
village on the Dee, about sixteen miles west of 
Aberdeen, in the neighborhood of half a dozen 
other families, all living in that easy elegant com- 
fort which is a feature of the rural life of the 
British gentry, and, attained through centuries of 
gradual, civilizing, refining progress, is maintained 
by the accumulation and diffusion of culture and 
capital. Nearly opposite, on the other side of the 
shallow salmon-haunted Dee, lived General Bur- 
net, who was an ensign with Burgoyne when cap- 
tured at Saratoga in 1777. At his table I noticed 
an old-time custom. Between the guests were 
silver tankards filled with ale, each tankard for its 
two neighbors, one carrying to his lips the right 
side, the other the left. 

I accompanied my kind host and hostess on a 
visit for a couple of days to the seat of Mr. Far- 
quharson Innes of Monaltry, about fifteen miles 
further west, where we found ourselves in the 
Highlands. A substantial, roomy mansion, amid 
wooded hills and dells, in a wild forest that almost 
encroached upon the walls ; a cordial hospitality ; 
billiards with young ladies ; opposite me at the 


dinner-table a picture with figures of life-size rep- 
resenting one of the ancestors of the family about 
to mount his horse to start on some storied expe- 
dition, with one foot in the stirrup, by the cruelty 
of the painter fixed for centuries in that momen- 
tary constraint ; such are the memories of that 
highland visit. This life in the country for eight 
or ten months of the year, without rural seclusion 
and its consequent rusticity and provincialism, is 
a healthful ingredient in English existence. In 
the young it nourishes health, moral and physical ; 
it keeps both mind and body aired. 

On the second of June my hospitable host went 
with me back to Aberdeen, where we dined with 
the County Club, Major Hay in the chair. In a 
company of forty or fifty, five or six were named 
to me, hardy, hale gentlemen, past middle age, 
who, having made fortunes or competencies in the 
West Indies, in South America, in the East Indies, 
at the Cape of Good Hope, had come home to 
dear old Scotland to enjoy the fruits of their dis- 
tant sagacious toil. The enterprise of her citizens 
is ever seconding the large, deliberate, inexorable 
ambition of her government to make all the con- 
tinents and oceans of the globe tributary to the 
wealth, and I may add, to the knowledge of Eng- 
land ; so that " this sceptered isle," " this pre- 
cious stone, set in the silver sea," is, to Englishmen 
at least, the centre of the earth, for from it run 


intellectual, industrial radii to all segments of tho 
earth's water-bound circumference. 

At a certain stage of the dinner I became trem- 
blingly alive to what was coming. In a few mo- 
ments I should have to face as speaker a strange 
audience. Some of my readers have doubtless 
gone through this ordeal. Whoever has or has 
not, let him read Hawthorne's chapter on Civic 
Banquets in " Our Old Home." After him to at- 
tempt to describe the proceeding and its sensations 
were a preposterous presumption. 

Toward midnight I was in the mail-coach that 
was to carry me to breakfast at Dundee, through 
Brechin, and through the almost nightless night 
of this high latitude in June, where darkness has 
hardly night enough to build its deeper caverns. 
Thence up the Tay by steamboat to Perth, where 
I spent an agreeable Sunday, having a letter to 
Dr. McFarlane, Jr., who showed me the beautiful 
environs of Perth. Macpherson, whom Words- 
worth calls the " sire of Ossian," had been tutor 
in the family of Dr. McFarlane's grandfather. 
The Doctor said he was a proud man, keenly am- 
bitious of literary fame, and hence was glad to 
have the Gaelic origin of Ossian doubted, pur- 
posely keeping in obscurity the evidence of this 
origin. But aged persons were still living who 
remembered when these stories — before their pub- 
lication by Macpherson — were told in circles of 


the young ; and so diffused and minute was the 
knowledge of them, that some of the listeners 
would be sure to correct the narrator, if the small- 
est item, or even a word, were omitted. Now 
Wordsworth says of Ossian that " the characters 
never could exist, the manners are impossible, and 
that a dream has more substance than the whole 
state of society as therein depicted." He pro- 
nounces the whole book to be a a phantom begot- 
ten by the snug embrace of an impudent High- 
lander upon a cloud of tradition." 

On Monday morning I was at Stirling, and 
after having walked to the castle and despatched 
my trunk to Glasgow, took a gig to drive through 
a beautiful country to Callender, and thence to 
Stewart's inn on Loch Akray. Toward evening 
I walked through the Trossachs. The guide 
drew my attention to what I should otherwise not 
have seen, so secreted was it among bushes and 
boulders — a small hut, now partly demolished, 
where whiskey had been manufactured, to be sold 
without paying the excise, an inland hole for smug- 
gling. The whiskey of this region is noted for 
its' flavor and quality. What is alcohol? The 
Dictionary says the Arab word means essence or 
spirit. Essence or spirit is life, concentrated life ; 
but alcohol is concentrated death. Is it from 
barren one-sidedness, from its being a forced exu- 
dation from, a compulsory extract out of, saccha- 


rine, and therefore nutritious substances, that it 
intoxicates, that is, poisons ? Is it because it is 
counternatural, a meddlesome perversion of God's 
gifts, because the use of it implies a lusting after 
forbidden flavors, a morbid craving for more life 
than we can bear, like an impious sporting with 
the blinding, shattering lightning ? Has it some 
recondite, not wholly obliterated, affinity with good, 
such as Satan had with God ? It certainly is a 
Devil who with lies and flatteries has won the free 
range of our Eden. Does its venom come from 
its rejection, through distillation, of all wholesome 
elements ? The more dephlegmated it is, that is, 
the freer from aqueous particles, the purer it is. 
Hence, in part, its enmity to the tissues of the 
human body, they being three fourths water. Full 
of fire and explosiveness, rightly did the poor In- 
dians, whom it has slain by myriads, call it fire- 
water. Whence its terrible attractiveness ? Like 
the latent heat in the blood which, when it rises 
above a certain grade, consumes instead of vivify- 
ing, is alcohol a principle of life carried to a con- 
suming degree ? When people are languid or cold, 
by it they may, for the moment, be inspirited and 
warmed. When the springs of life are weak or 
w T orn, through the weight and wear of feelings 
disappointed, wounded, crushed, men* try to lighten 
the brain with the fumes of alcohol : they take it 
to their inmost confidence as a friend ! These 


lines, applied to a woman in Shelley's mysterious 
Epip&ychidion, do they not describe this insidious 
vegetable demon ? 

" Flame 
Out of her looks into my vitals came; 
And from her living cheeks and bosom flew 
A killing air, which pierced like honey-dew 
Into the core of my green heart, and lay 
Upon its leaves ; until, as hair grown gray 
O'er a young brow, they hid its unblown prime 
With ruins of unseasonable time." 

We are wisely taught that waste is criminal. 
As children we are told to throw even refuse 
bread-crumbs where the birds may get them. To 
turn life-nourishing grain into life- was ting poison, 
what a thousandfold crime ! Well w T ere it for 
humanity if, like the unroofed hut in the Tros- 
sachs, all buildings on earth, where poison is 
brewed from food, could be made desolate. Only 
then will they become desolate, when men's lives 
shall be so full of true stimulants that they will no 
longer thirst for false ones. And that blessed 
time is yet to be. 

We were more than two hours in a row r -boat 
on Loch Kathrine, landing for a few moments on 
Ellen's Island, where I plucked a wild hyacinth. 
From the western end of the lake a walk of five 
miles brought us to Loch Lomond, in time to hit 
a steamboat. Passing through the whole length 
of the lake, and by Dumbarton rock and castle, 
we entered the Clyde, arriving at Glasgow at 


eight, after a delightfully well-spent day. The 
next morning a river-boat took me down to Green- 
ock to go on board a sea-boat that was to start at 
noon for Liverpool. 

Sitting in the evening below deck with a book, 
the captain and two or three passengers — not 
conceiving that an American might be so near — 
assailed my passive ears with abuse of the United 
States, talking boastfully of the Shannon and 
Chesapeake, and declaring, that behind cotton- 
bales school-boys could have defended New Or- 
leans. The talkers were of that uncultured class 
among whom the weeds of prejudice and provin- 
cialism grow into a choking rankness. Interna- 
tional, like individual, fault-finding is often but a 
coarse manifestation of what may be termed a 
conservative egotism. The strong individuality 
(nobody abuses weak people) of a neighbor seems 
to threaten mine ; that there is a difference in our 
natures is a kind of reproach to me. The indi- 
viduality of a man is his all ; it encloses his whole 
being. Any opposition to it — and a character 
prominently variant is a latent hostility — makes 
him gather himself up defensively as when his body 
is menaced. And so with nations, except that here 
the discordancy is more permanent and defined. 
Were individuals or nations all exactly alike, there 
would be, there could be, no antagonism ; and then 
life were but a sleepy languor, an unimpassioned 


platitude, a changeless, tuneless tautology. Inequal- 
ities, rivalries, are ingredients of development. The 
more marked and abundant the inequalities, and 
the more various and active the rivalries in the 
bosom of one people, or between several peoples, 
the wider and manlier will be the welfare and the 
more assured the progressiveness. 

An involuntary eaves-dropper, — like myself in 
the cabin of the Majestic, steam-packet between 
Greenock and Liverpool, — enforced to listen to 
the various European nations while giving to inter- 
national dislikes and antipathies that broad untem- 
pered avowal which is apt to issue from such a 
knot of frank racy middlemen as I was overhear- 
ing, might conclude that a strong element in the 
mutual feeling — not between the inhabitants of 
any two nations merely, but between any one and 
all the rest — -is a chronic hate, and that not only 
do Frenchmen and Englishmen inter despise (to bor- 
row a coinage of De Quincey's), but that they both 
unite with the Spaniard and the Italian in aspers- 
ing the German, the German giving each of them 
as good as he sends ; and so on all round the map. 
And so on all through each section of the map, the 
southern Italian being ever ready to scowl at the 
northern, the Norman Frenchman harboring to- 
ward the Gascon a sentiment any thing but purely 
fraternal, the Scot and the Englishman eying 
each other jealously. So too among different 


towns of the same land, even among different por- 
tions and streets of the same town. All the count- 
less differences and inequalities among nations, 
sections, and individual men, Nature works with 
for her ends of productiveness and advancement : 
all the colors and shades of color that dye and 
play through the human heart she combines to 
create the far-shining stimulating white light of 
Christian civilization. 

I had come to Liverpool to meet my father and 
sister, and the era of ocean steamships not being 
yet entered on I waited a week for their arrival. 
On the 18th of June we left Liverpool, making 
our first stage to old Chester, the second to Wrex- 
ham. The country was alive with the stir of a 
parliamentary election. From Wrexham to Elles- 
mere (Saxon for great water) we drove in a ba- 
rouche with an electioneering placard pasted on it, 
— " Independence, &c, &c. ; " a proclamation, 
prolonged through a thousand years, of Anglo- 
Saxon freedom ; for England, ever since, under 
the guidance of the great Alfred, she emerged 
from barbarism, has been a land of popular power. 
However limited the number of the electors, how- 
ever selfishly dominant at times the nobles, how- 
ever dictatorial some able unscrupulous king, the 
individual Englishman has always — except during 
short historically critical epochs — possessed, as 
to personal movement, speech and endeavor, ex- 


emption from oppressive disheartening central con- 
trol. In the deep throat of the race there has 
ever lain a leonine growl of manliness, ready to 
warn executive encroachment. It is a strong 
breed, compounded and compacted out of many 
stems, slowly unfolding itself into shapelier forms 
and combinations. For more than a thousand 
years English history is a gradual growth, an ex- 
pansion, a gain earned by incessant sturdy effort 
under the lead of instinct and insight. Robust 
fruitful natures have ever abounded on English 
soil. Out of the multitude have arisen in every 
generation strong, apt men, nervous centres, ab- 
sorbents and distributors of living energies. A 
stout heart has always kept the brains of English- 
men warm with a courageous current. With what 
a will they cut one another's throats through many 
generations on a hundred civil battle-fields. That 
headsman, with the axe turned toward the pris- 
oner, wiiat a recurrent terrible figure he is in 
English annals. With what calmness and dignity 
their nobles laid their heads on the bloody block. 
With what duteous devotion, with what unflinch- 
ing fortitude, their martyrs walked to the stake. 
There is no better sign of a rich race than that 
it throve on so much killing. The axe and the 
sword seem to have been means of mental fecun- 
dation. And their kings ! Are the chapters of 
any other history headed with such a roll of regal 


puissance ? Alfred, warrior, scholar, lawgiver, 
the model of regal manhood ; and Richard, the 
lion-hearted Crusader ; and the victorious first and 
third Edwards, with their martial Black Prince ; 
and the valiant Henrys, the Second, the conquer- 
ing Fifth, and the fierce, able, big-headed, uxorious 
Eighth, the wife-slayer ; and his great daughter, 
who, happily for England and Christendom, reigned 
a half century, — the wilful, jealous, sway-loving, 
sway-worthy Elizabeth, girt with such a belt of 
men as sovereign on earth never was before or 
since, the virgin Queen, for who was large enough 
to be her lord, save the crownless King, Oliver 
Cromwell. What a pair ! 

The Stuarts we can only look upon as a prov- 
idential arrangement for bringing about the Rev- 
olution of 1688. The Dutch experiment of an 
imported King was a great success. Not so the 
German ; and the unabated prosperity and the 
unchecked progression of England under the four 
Georges is a demonstration that the momentum of 
a great people, at a certain stage of development, 
is not to be arrested by the incapacity of kings, 
and that England has outgrown kingship. King- 
ship has ceased to be an inward need of the nation. 
England continues yet for a while to keep it, as an 
ornamental externality, a cherished national heir- 
loom sparkling with historic prestige, a time-bla- 
zoned emblem of majesty, a conventional centre, 



to and from which run all the lines of executive 
routine, just as the parallels of longitude seem to 
depend on Greenwich, — and because, without the 
broad certain shade of the crown, the still power 
ful oligarchy of England would be exposed to the 
relentless sun of Democracy, which surely burns 
and blasts all mere hereditary pretensions to power 
and preeminence. 

Through Shrewsbury, Birmingham, Warwick, 
we came to Stratford-on-Avon. If an area with 
a circumference so jagged with promontories, so 
eccentric and desultory, can have a centre, that 
of England and Wales will probably lie somewhere 
in Warwickshire, the geographical heart being thus 
the cradle of the poetic ; as though England were 
so careful and jealous of her foremost man, that 
she nestled him in her interior precincts ; as though 
she would guard on every side, with all the breadth 
of land her island could furnish, the sanctuary 
where was to grow and play the big-eyed boy who, 
about 1574, began to have inward hints, vague 
intimations, pulses dimly quivering with that power 
which was to be one of the strongest and most 
continuous forces upon the British, and through 
that upon the whole civilized, mind. 

Shakespeare is by much the most creative poet 
the earth has known. A creative mind is one 
within whose womb are engendered fresh births, 
additions of new forms, conceptions, ideas, to the 


intellectual treasures of humanity. Within it is 
such a combination and intense concentration of 
the higher human, that it has the august privilege 
of overflowing in gifts that enlarge, enrich, fortify, 
and beautify human kind. The multitude and va- 
riety, the splendor and solidity, the originality and 
beauty, the liveliness and inexhaustible significancy 
of the thoughts, images, conceptions, personages, 
added by Shakespeare to the human stock, en- 
throne him supreme in the saturnian realms of 
mental creation. In him, more than in any other 
writer, there is a cumulative vitality — thought 
breeding thought, so saturated is the soil with par- 
turient seed, so heaving with organic readiness. 
And what gives such sparkle and proportion to 
this fertility is the natural order, the essential 
sequence, of fact and feeling, the fine aesthetic 
logic, as it may be termed, — thoughts and resolves 
and mutations following one another according to 
the subtlest most necessary law. A characteristic 
of his scenes is an unresting progressiveness. 
Healthfully, alertly, each movement unfolds itself 
under the sway of a judgment made intuitive by 
a deep multiplex life-power. Shoot projects shoot, 
as all over a vigorous tree in May. Some poets 
have to cast about for themes, and are at times 
put to it to fill up their outline : Shakespeare is 
ever rejecting, and has only to eliminate before 
enranking his abundance. 


A feature, and in its prominence a distinctive 
feature of Shakespeare, and one whose full import 
has not been weighed, that I am aware of, is his 
wealth of metaphor. Some of his best pages are 
an almost uninterrupted roll of metaphor. Abun- 
dant, various, fresh metaphor involves full, fine 
knowledge of the relations among countless things, 
and implies a rich, far-glancing, and moreover a 
poetic mind ; for it is chiefly by means of metaphor 
that the poetic imagination, telescopic and tele- 
graphic, ^flashes new meanings through old words, 
suddenly fuses into one two things hitherto sep- 
arate and distant, reveals unexpected similitudes, 
unnoticed sympathies. Good metaphors bite into 
the core of things ; they glisten with the very sap 
of substance. 

For a wide segment of her annals England has 
in Shakespeare a unique historiographer. No 
other people enjoys the privilege of reading its 
history by the light of poetry ; for the Greek 
tragedies are as unhistoric as are Lear and Mac- 
beth. The Henrys and Richards, with their vizored 
nobles, Shakespeare uplifts to where they can come 
within the focus of his illumination. On his page 
they are the authentic agents imaginatively trans- 
figured ; aggrandized, not falsified ; only the more 
real for being seen in the glow of a Shakespearean 
ideal. His historic dramas are the truth of history 


From Stratford through Shipston we came to 
Woodstock, stopping at Blenheim to see the old 
pictures and the old oaks. Of Oxford we had 
only an outside glimpse, taking but a peep into the 
Bodleian Library. From Oxford through Henley 
to London. 

Were wishes not often baffled, expectations often 
disappointed, we should be led to misplace and 
exaggerate our hopes, and would grow inflated 
with a temporal prosperity. And, the world being 
still under the momentum of animal self-seeking 
energies, to suppose (except that, amid our end- 
less conflicts, this were to suppose a monstrous 
impossibility) the plans and hopes, personal and 
ambitious, of every one as to earthly things al- 
ways gratified, and you turn humanity into a 
slimy putrid mass of ceaseless, bootless fermenta- 
tion, a weltering concupiscent shoal wriggling in 
mud ; you convert the earth into a wilderness of 
Satanic serpents ; you make of men mere intel- 
lectual beasts. The obstacles to gratification are 
our safeguards. The grosser the nature the more 
it owes to its limitations. Through failure and 
discontent and mortification our spiritual powers 
are strengthened, to purge and discipline our de- 
sires. Trouble is to many a dark glass, through 
which they are enabled to cast their eyes up to 
God, whom without it they could not look at, and 
should not turn their eyes to. 


A sentence will suffice to whisk the reader from 
London to Paris. Tarrying some weeks in Ant- 
werp with my uncle and aunt, who planned the 
journey in which they were to accompany us, we 
tarried again in Aix-la-Chapelle, whose baths were 
recommended to one of our party ; and thence up 
the Rhine, through Switzerland and Lyons, we 
reached Paris early in the autumn. 

Gas had not yet arrived at Paris. Across the 
streets at the corners and at remote intervals were 
hung ropes with a lantern in the middle, giving out 
rays that served for little more than to make the 
darkness visible. The streets had no sidewalks ; 
the gutters ran in the middle ; the boulevards 
were unpaved ; the Madeleine unfinished. With 
a population of about five hundred thousand, Paris 
was unsightly and dirty, at night gloomy and for- 
bidding ; and in the Tuileries was enthroned 
Charles X., surrounded with men who undertook 
to rule a great people without foresight, who had 
not enough discourse of reason to look before or 
after, could not even see what the past was or the 
future might be, and would make of the present 
a cushion to loll on. 

In a former chapter is described a dinner I par- 
took of (with the eyes) in the dining-room of the 
King of Saxony. To be one of the company 
where a King of France dines — and he, mark 
you, the last of the long regal line of the elder 


Bourbons — is a feast as much more delicate as 
finest champagne is than home-brewed perry. Nor 
were we, as in Saxony, shut into a gallery above, 
but we passed along beside the royal table, fenced 
off by a balustrade, and so near that had his Maj- 
esty been so minded he could, by means of but 
two intermediaries, have handed to me (the gen- 
tleman in waiting having first refilled it) the capa- 
cious glass he was just draining of what, I must 
believe, was Clos Vougeot of '22. And possibly 
he might have become so minded, could he by a 
prophetic flash have read, that the act of unprece- 
dented royal hospitality would be recorded on the 
present page. The old king (the same w 7 ho as the 
young Compte d'Artois the beautiful queen, Marie 
Antoinette, was charged — unjustly, no doubt — 
with having too freely flirted with) had an oval 
face, with forehead and chin somewhat retreating, 
and a flushed complexion — a countenance without 
any sparkle in it. We were not allowed to stop, 
but were urged slowly forward, so that I had but 
time to receive the image of one other member of 
the party, which only consisted of three or four, at 
a table about five feet square. This person stood 
erect by the side of the table, with her masculine 
countenance turned toward the moving spectators 
as if with a suppressed scowl. It was the Duch- 
esse d'Angouleme, designated as the only man of 
the family. She was superbly dressed, and her 


pointed stomacher, four or five inches wide, was a 
glittering field of close-packed diamonds. 

The minister of the United States to France 
was Mr. Brown, of Louisiana, who, having an am- 
ple fortune, " lived in handsome style," while his 
and Mrs. Brown's command of French gave a 
completeness to the qualifications of the mission 
and a finish to its hospitalities, seldom attained by 
American legations on the Continent. At Mr. 
Brown's I first met Fenimore Cooper, then light 
of figure, and, sitting next to him at dinner one 
day, have a pleasant memory of his lively talk. 
To their minister several young Americans were 
indebted for an invitation to the grand ball of the 
season, given at the spacious mansion of one of the 
notabilities of that and the preceding era, — Pozzo 
di Borgo, ambassador from Russia, by birth a Cor- 
sican, and a life-long persistent hater of, and coun- 
terworker against, his countryman, Napoleon. 
Here was assembled much of the titled population 
of Paris, resident and transient. My recollections 
carry only the general brilliant effect, the affable 
smile of the host, — one of the handsomest men 
of his day, — the meeting with a fellow-student of 
Goettingen, attache to the Russian mission, and a 
portrait of the new Emperor, Nicholas, which hung 
by itself, over a dais representing the throne, in 
one of the interior rooms. 

M. Hyde de Neuville had recently returned to 


Paris from the United States, where for several 
years he had been minister of France. He and 
Madame de Neuville being both of the aneienne 
noblesse, and both distinguished specimens of their 
class, and he a public man in high estimation, at 
their evening parties, which were frequent, I had 
an opportunity of superficially seeing the elite of 
that old French nobility, historical and renowned, 
whose doom had been knelled in shrieking disso- 
nances by the Revolution, and who, come back 
with the Bourbon throne, were trvin£ to re warm 
themselves with fragments of decayed, disrupted 
institutions, and to rebuild the old monarchic ed- 
ifice ; for, having, in their long obscurity and exile, 
" learnt nothing and forgotten nothing," they could 
not perceive that the foundations of their ancient 
power were destroyed or loosened, and that His- 
tory had outgrown them. Fixing their eyes on 
the past, with their backs turned to the future, — 
reversing the healthful order of nature, — the 
future came upon them as a sudden hurricane, 
and in 1830 they were again swept out of the 
Palace, never more to return to it. 

This devotion to and reliance upon the past, 
which, spiritually speaking, has its source in a 
religious insufficiency, in a timid moral halfness, 
afraid of the livelier half, the future that puts 
us on our mettle, — this indolent spiritual dolce 
far niente, this pauper-piety, that would cower out 


of the wind behind the high wall of the past, 
arrogates for its devotees precedence over all other 
earth-born immortals, the highest place in God's 
regard ; as though a moral and religious passiv- 
ity were the first of virtues. These excessive 
Bourbonists were ultra-Romanists. But are not 
they, and all who like them strive to enthrone and 
immortalize the past and mistrust the future, the 
real infidels ? The unbeliever is he who dreads 
and has no faith in what is to come. The repro- 
bate or simpleton can believe in the past. That 
every one has in possession without effort. But 
belief in the future demands spiritual activity. Is 
it not a subtle form of materialism, to fear the 
future because you know it not ? Is not this an 
impious egotism ? What you see and have you 
believe, but what you cannot see and have not, you 
trust not God to provide. Much less will you help 
him to provide it, by tolerance, by enlargement of 
the area of moral and political freedom, by disin- 
terested wishes and aims, by arduous and helpful 

We lodged at Meurice's Hotel, not the modern 
Meurice but the ancient, a hundred yards nearer 
to the Palais Royal, much less capacious than the 
new, with the main entrance on the Hue St Ho- 
nor e ; for the arcade of the Rue Rivoli was not 
yet finished so far. It is now, or was some years 
since, still a public house, under the name of Hotel 


Bedford. Our fellow-lodgers were almost exclu- 
sively English, and a portion of these, with two or 
three who took their meals at the hotel, with occa- 
sional stragglers, made a circle of twelve or fifteen 
at the table-dliote ; and my father and I separated 
ourselves at dinner from the rest of our party for 
the companionship of the public table, which was 
not open to ladies. Ere the winter w r as half over 
the circle had got kneaded into sociability. 

Our most notable member was Colonel Beckwith, 
of the British army, a man of large merit and 
little pretension, whose worth and purity of nature 
were soon apparent through simple manners and 
amiable openness. He had lost a leg at Waterloo, 
and one evening he made his amputated limb illus- 
trate a spiritual argument. His leg, buried on the 
field, was to him no more than the soil wherein it 
lay, and thus would soon be the rest of his body, 
was so in a measure already. Having lately re- 
turned from travelling in the United States, and 
speaking of marriage, he remarked, that young 
Englishmen were often deterred from marrying by 
the expensive habits of English girls ; in this, he 
added, contrasting strikingly with those of the 
United States. (American young gentlemen of 
1866, shake your heads, ejaculate as stoutly as 
you please : you were not born when that remark 
was made, and forty years bring almost unimagina- 
ble changes.) His latter days Col. Beck with spent 


among the Waldenses, founding schools in their 
secluded beautiful valleys, — an active benefactor 
to that heroic fragment of a people. 

We had a ci-devant dandy among us, an Eng- 
lishman with a high French title, about thirty-five 
years of age, who had been an officer in the Eng- 
lish " Guards," — amiable, intelligent, handsome, 
and unaffected, with little left of the dandy except 
the elegance of his dress. — One of the occasional 
diners was a man, rather tall, turned of forty, with 
* a thin nose, whose habitual expression was almost 
uncivil, so soured was it by the acidity of his na- 
ture, — a man whom it irked to hear any one, and 
even any thing, praised, as though thereby he were 
robbed, — one of those porous egotists who try to 
absorb all around them into themselves, and move 
about in the twilight of their semi - illuminated 
self-busied sensations. — Another, who appeared 
at long intervals, ten years younger than this one, 
and to him as a racer to a dray-drudge, had light 
hair, finely cut Roman features, bloodless com- 
plexion, a pale, high, cold forehead, and clear 
gray eyes, the rays out of which w r ere like the 
trickle from shining icicles, — a man full of sugges- 
tion to a female sensation novelist, — a calm mys- 
terious Voltairian, whose smile was but the play 
on the surface, of a deep habitual scorn. There 
was a middle-aged Englishman, settled in Nor- 
mandy, even fonder than most men of hearing 


himself talk, especially about his own adventures 
and doings, one of that class of ambitious over- 
topping talkers for whose swelling speech God's 
works and man's are too diminutive, — individuals 
whose frontal sinus, instead of being empty as in 
their meaner fellows, carries in it a magnifying 
lens made of cerebral vapor, — practical trans- 
cendentalists, so much do their facts transcend the 
unbecoming littleness of reality. One day this 
Anglo-Norman was giving an account of his gar- 
dens and plantations, especially of his acres of 
roses, his hundreds of varieties, his tens of thou- 
sands of bushes, his cart-loads of rose-leaves, when, 
amid interjections of admiration from some of his 
auditors, he of the pallid brow said, " then you 
can lie on roses," in a voice so quiet and concur- 
rent that few took the hit — an obtuseness which 
heightened rather than lowered the zest of the 
satirist in his stroke. 

One young man, with fair skin, blue eyes, and 
beautiful teeth, which were well seen through a 
frequent laugh, had a living of six hundred pounds 
in his family, which they were anxious for him to 
qualify himself to take ; but he had scruples, not 
feeling in him any vocation for the higher clerical 
duties — a scrupulousness which, if acted on, 
would empty many a pulpit in England, and else- 
where. — From another I learnt that a young lady 
in England was in danger of making a very bad 


match. My informant was a young man of six or 
seven and twenty, with round face and head, 
a smooth ruddy skin over features that would have 
made him a fine-looking fellow but for his eye, the 
expression of which was always dubious, and at 
times deeply sinister. He told me that a girl of 
his own age, of good position, face, and figure, 
a neighbor of his in the country, with three hun- 
dred a year in possession, was ready to take him 
whenever he should say the word. He was evi- 
dently holding her and her three hundred a year 
in reserve, as a last resource should he not do 
better. She had my cordial wishes for escape 
from one who seemed already entering, with no 
unsteady step, the dusky downward road of vice. 

One day Sir Francis Burdette appeared at the 
table — a tall, striking man with long face, light 
hair, and a remarkably high-bred look. 

Of eminent Frenchmen then living and since 
deceased, there is but one whom I much regret 
not to have seen. It is not Chateaubriand ; for he 
was only one of the most splendid of rhetoricians, 
who, chiefly through gifts of expression, became, 
without being wise or truly commanding, a power 
among his contemporaries, and not always a power 
for good. 

The man whose face and voice I should now 
delight to be able to recall, and whom, could I 
have then dreamt what he would become to me 5 


I might easily have seen, — he being that very 
winter a clerk in the American house of Curtis 
and Lamb in Paris, — was Charles Fourier, just 
then busy with his Nouveau Monde Industrie! et 
Societaire, " New Industrial and Social World," 
a volume of five hundred pages, an abridgment of 
his large cardinal work in four volumes, entitled 
Theorie de V Unite Universelle. 

A profound thinker, whose thinking moved in 
broad, disinterested channels, Fourier outran his fel- 
low-men by several generations, and through intu- 
itions that had their germs in enlarged humanity and 
noble love of justice, discovered, by dint of arduous 
meditative endeavor, the laws of work, whereby all 
human industry, by being organized and thereby 
purified and made attractive, shall quadruple its 
products, and the discords of selfish, ruthless com- 
petition and perverted passion be harmonized, — 
laws whose easy power lies in the multitudinous 
capacities and boundless resources and scientific 
thirst of the human mind, ever longing for a higher 
method, — laws benignant and beautiful, that were 
brought to light by the piercing insight of genius 
and sympathy. 

But it is time to bring the chapter, and the vol- 
ume, to a close. Early in the spring of 1827 we 
passed over to London, and in May sailed from 
Liverpool in an American packet for Philadelphia. 





203 "Washington St., corner of Bromfield St., (up stairs,) Boston. 

X^forb-s of «TotJ.3ta. S6t-u.fa.x-t 


3 vols. 12mo. Cloth. Per vol. $2.25. 


2 vols. 12mo. Cloth. Per vol. $2.25. 


1 vol. 12mo. Cloth. $1.25. 


By Ernest Xaville. 16mo. $1.75. 


Translated from the German of Adolf Staiih, by E. P. Evans, Ph. D. 
Michigan University. 2 vols, crown octavo. $5.00. 


Philosophical and Theological. By James Martineau. Crown octavo. 
Tinted paper. $2.50. 


Of Ethical and Social Subjects. By Frances Power Cobbe. 
Crown octavo. $3.00. 


By Prances Power Cobbe. 12mo, cloth, bevelled sides. $1.75. 


In 1 vol. small quarto, pp. viii. and 314. $3.00. (Only 250 copies printed.) 


By Miss Mary Carpenter. 2 vols, in 1. pp. 293 and 380. Octavo. $4.50. 


Or, First Causes of Character. Bv Rev. W. M. Fernald. 12mo. 
Cloth. $1.00. 


By Rev. "VV. M. Fernald. 12mo. Cloth. $1.50. 


For Classes and Private Reading. Bv Stephen G. Bulfixch, D. D. 
12mo. $1.25. 

*** Copies of the above, or any book published in the United States, sent by 
mail, free of postage, on receipt of the price. 
Q£r A Liberal Discount allowed to Clergymen, Students, and Libraries J3$